The Granby Workshop grew out of a project Assemble Studio did for their Turner Prize submission last year. Assemble is an 18-member collective based in London who work in art, architecture, and deign. They say their collaborative approach actively involves the public as participants and spectators in the work.
That participation can be seen with the Granby Workshop. Granby, also known as Granby Four Streets, is group of terraced homes in Toxteth, Liverpool. They were built to house artisan workers back in 1900, but in 1981, following riots, the local council acquired many of the homes in the area for demolition and development. Many of the former residents moved and the homes began to deteriorate. For the last decade or so the remaining residents pushed for a neighborhood renaissance by fighting demolition plans, cleaning and planting their streets, organizing a market and founding a community land trust for affordable housing.
Granby Workshop extends that social movement down a new corridor. They work from a symbolic gesture centered on design, which in its own way is an allegory for the rocky history of the neighborhood. Many of the historic homes were stripped of their furnishings and so GW would replace those with their own. Many of these designs are repurposed from building waste, given a new lease on life, and installed back into the remaining homes. The studio trains and employs residents in the manufacturing process. They’re also available for sale. Proceeds from sales of GW products go to benefit a program that works with 13 to 18-year olds involved in “creative, practical” projects around the neighborhood. The designs are heavy in story and they form a conceptual circuit as they travel throughout Granby and beyond.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
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