42nd Street New Home – box of frogs

42nd Street is a charity that works with young people dealing with stress & mental health issues. In 2011, they moved into a new building that had been especially designed for them. Over the summer before the move, box of frogs ran a project about the transition for the young people who use 42nd Street. As part of this project, they wanted to look at ideas for the interior of the new building. I ran a series of sessions with the staff and young people looking at ideas, design & making. I also created various artworks for the new building using their designs as a starting point.

I visited the group while they were on residential at Bowley Scout camp. We looked at ideas for the interview rooms. We discussed how ‘calm’ and ‘zany’ can be interpreted visually and created designs on acetate along these themes and displayed them on the window. We looked at what mood each design said to us before asking the person who designed it what their intentions were. It was interesting how mixed the responses were and showed the fine line in design interpretation; how the same shape but in a different colour can say something very different.

After the summer, box of frogs and I ran some drop in sessions at 42nd Street creating fabric wall hangings for the interview rooms using the designs from the residential as a starting point. Hopefully you will be able to spot these as you explore the building.

We also looked at sensory ideas for the Disabled Meeting room. The group made flowers from a range of fabrics with different textures in bold contrasting colours. These were attached to a grassy rug with some additional bath scrunchies to create a very bright tactile wall hanging. I also added some little fabric creatures from IKEA to add some humour. These were repeated in the room to look like they had escaped. Some of the flowers were also attached to furry green cushions to be used elsewhere in the building to connect the spaces and give a feeling of life & growth.

We also explored the idea of house & home to create ideas for the Bird Table project to be exhibited in the foyer at the AGM & opening event. The group wanted modern high-rises which lit up. We aslso included a party on one of the roofs.

I also created the two chairs in response to ideas that came out of the sessions. One is covered in maps representing the places and journeys that are very real & important to the young people. In contrast the other is pure fantasy.

This work has been created as part of the Planet Art project that was funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and has been a partnership between 42nd St and box of frogs.