By Nathan Davies & Ines Mendes
Connection to Harringay Warehouse District
Fabric[a] takes the ‘Warehouse’ spirit of collectivism and adaptability and invites the public in. It is at once an acknowledgement of local heritage, where textiles played a significant role in community and economy, and an outward projection of a possible future – where people from different backgrounds can come together under one roof and create or fabricate. It is a conversation led by activity and relationships, not by spatial constraint. The project calls for the community to be actively engaged in the production of a key element of the very ‘fabric’ of the pavilion.
Inspired by the endless reinterpretation and re-imagination of space within the Harringay Warehouse District and its community, Fabric[a] is deliberately non-prescriptive in its provision of activity. It is a gesture of opportunity, of tools, and of mechanisms placed into the hands of those who will use it. It is the people, their visions, and their voices that define Fabric[a]’s purpose.
Fabric[a] is not a statement, but a place for statements to be made.
A lightweight aluminium portal frame structure rises to create a ‘skeleton’. Attached to this is an outer ‘skin’ of polycarbonate panels, allowing the pavilion to radiate its light and activity, a beacon to the outside whilst providing shelter to inside. Meanwhile, an inner layer of movable ‘curtains’ can be configured to create spaces of varying intimacies to support and facilitate events and activities.
These fabric drapes are imagined as an outward expression of the artistic identity of the Harringay warehouse community, with each artist invited to design and create their own curtain from whichever material, and utilising whichever pattern, they please. This will result in a rich and exciting array of transparencies and identities, presenting an opportunity for the warehouse community to take ownership of the project and the visual expression of their voice. In conversation with the neighbouring Tailoring Academy, Fabric[a] seeks to be part of, and encourage, the rebirth of the textile industry in Harringay.
Each of these unique fabric drapes can then be moved to create the appropriate spatial condition – depending on the activity or event taking place. Through their interaction with Fabric[a], event organisers are therefore able to craft the appropriate environment and degree of intimacy for their activity. The spatial demands of a film screening are very different to that of a craft market; a yoga class may be best suited against the backdrop of neighbouring trees, whereas a live band facing the public realm can catch the attention of passers-by. With a simple gesture – the opening or closing of a curtain, Fabric[a] adapts to the situation.
The pavilion sits on top of an OSB ‘floorscape’ with benches and planters built in to provide moments of pause and observation. The choice of OSB reflects the need for a durable, warm, yet easily constructed base – providing a small podium for the summer of events.
The OSB platform has been designed to use as many full-size boards as possible, minimising labour time and increasing reuse opportunity. The raising of this platform atop pallets allows for unintrusive foundations for each of the structural columns, sitting on the ground, but beneath the OSB boards.
This constitutes part of Fabric[a]’s strategy to be quick to assemble and disassemble, to be replicatable and adapted to different sites, and to be constructed of reclaimed and inexpensive materials where possible. Various elements of the projects are also scalable to adapt to different budget requirements where necessary.