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Following an initial 4 week judging period followed by a two hour jury panel meeting earlier in the week, we are delighted to announce the final winners of the Reimagined Living & Working Space competition.


First Prize: The Millennial Home by Ciaran Magee

 

The Millennial Home by Ciaran Magee

Jack is a millennial.


Jack has been made redundant twice in two years. First in 2019 because of uncertainty around Brexit, and subsequently in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jack has £40,000 of student debt.

Jack lives in London, with half of their wages paying for a room in a flat with no living room. Jack had previously been employed as a part II architectural assistant, but for six months has been working freelance on a zero-hours contract. Since the United Kingdom locked down, Jack works, rests, eats, and sleeps in one room, leading to problems with insomnia and a declining mental health. To facilitate a better work life balance in the new WFH normal, Jack has developed a proposal to subdivide their 12m2 room into four distinct but connected areas for sleeping, relaxing, working, and activity. As Jack is renting, the intervention is envisioned as a piece of furniture at the scale of the room. Drawing from Escher, Antonello da Messina’s St Jerome in his Study, and Brodsky and Utkin’s ‘columbariums’ via Enzo Mari’s concept of autoprogettazione, the proposal is constructed from plywood and is fully demountable.


This is Jack’s millennial home.


 

The Millennial Home is an incredibly powerful response, it’s very honest and personal but there is also something quite fantastical about the simplicity and elegance of how it is presented. It has the ethereal quality you often want to see in art but it also has propositional and practical elements and every time you revisit the artwork, you notice something different; a different type of detail or feature in the room that you hadn’t noticed before - it is a very highly considered response and the combination of all those aspects makes it an incredibly strong and powerful piece.


Second Prize: The Casa: Not a Place for Quiet Contemplation by Ian Bugarin & Joe Douglas

 

The Casa: Not a Place for Quiet Contemplation by Ian Bugarin & Joe Douglas

We spent lockdown living and working together in an old house in Italy. We consider maintaining connectivity, physically and digitally, fundamental to our new ideas of living and working.


By virtue of our community, slowly built up over the past years, we indulged in utopic ideas, finding respite in a live/work environment in rural Italy. The fresco drawing speculates on our love for sharing an old building that facilitates work and play. “E una citta dentro una citta”, a city within a city. A house without doors, the architecture and environment depicted utilises the porosity of an unfinished refurbished convent, situated within a coastal and mountainous region. Taking work as the pivotal “reason” for our collective gathering, we draw on the painting of St Jerome in his Study as an ideal environment to find focus. However, our energies are drawn not from isolation, but from the opposite.


By relocating with people who use the spaces within to their own needs, different to our own, we find ourselves more intrigued by this activity than often in our normal lives. We find a new home away from home, more than just a “get away”, but an extension to our capacities for engagement.


 

The Casa: Not a Place for Quiet Contemplation is a very skilled and intelligent response. The piece is beautiful graphically and exceptionally well put together in its composition and the artistic way in which the architectural motifs in terms of plans and axonometric has been used and presented. Imaginative and inspirational in its narrative of an almost utopian world, the entry can be viewed both as an A3 artwork to be appreciated as an almost cryptic but, you can also delve deeper and on taking a closer look, discover all the different pieces of information that the artwork generously reveals providing an intimate opening into the world of its creators.


Joint Third Prize: Loop by Monika Mabiki and The Mullet by Matthew Evans

 

Loop by Monika Mabiki

A bedroom of rectangular shape, 3 x 4 meters, with a large sash Victorian window of full height and consisting of a bed, a desk, a chair and a painting amalgamates into a 9 to 5 office.

The spectator witnesses an inhabitant of the space captured between two frames which act as portals; one frame being a window that unveils the restrictive reality of the bleak present, whilst the other frame belongs to a Mark Rothko painting which evokes the contrasting sentiment towards a freeing journey.

The person caught between the two juxtaposing portals recently encountered an upheaval of their space, driving them to become an architect of their own surrounding.

It is a space of contrasts, whereby a person works and lives, enduring privacy and invasiveness, uncertainty and safety, solitude and closeness, staticity and movement.

The reflection of the window against the glass frame of the painting reveals a tower-block, housing people that cannot be reached and a nature that cannot be accessed but which similarly to the Rothko painting pervades the space with undisturbed calmness.

This all occurs within a gap between two virtual portals, through which the gazer reimagines parameter of their existence.


 

Loop was incredibly well done and very different in terms of its representation in comparison to any of the other entries. There is something very raw and simple about it but at the same time, it’s exceptionally powerful and manages to speak words in only one single snapshot. It tells the story of its creator with so much depth achieved through its abstract composition - invoking an emotive response from its viewer and even one of familiarly and empathy.



The Mullet by Matthew Evans

Around the time that I heard about the competition, I recall hearing that the mullet was making a comeback. With this in mind, I read the brief and thought about the classic attributes of the hairstyle - 'Business at the front, party at the back’. I thought this would be a great concept for a home.


Being from South Africa, I was inspired by the barbershop murals you see back home. I love the way the murals use characters and objects to sell a hairstyle as if it was a lifestyle choice. Using this as inspiration, I wanted my artwork to tell a story in an almost cheesy way, using 80's iconography to combine the barbershop mural with a pop-art nostalgia.


The main character in my artwork is Arnold. Like most people, he had to sacrifice a lot during the pandemic and he had to slim down his operations in order for his business to survive. But he found a way, he converted his garage into an office and now runs the business out of his home. He even found a new hairstyle, one that is easy to maintain and makes him stand out from the crowd.


 

Graphically, The Mullet is very bright and loud, not at all shy to stand out from the crowd, but on taking a closer look, you really begin to discover the thoughtful story behind it and appreciate how the artist has acknowledged the reality of the situation but has chosen to respond with an optimistic representation of the competition theme, drawing from personal and situational contexts to present really, a unique and original piece.


Commentary by the Jury Panel

 

Jas Bhalla: 'The interesting thing about us as architects is that we’re always designing for other people in mind, trying to put across to others our ideas and now, the people entering this competition were the subject of that context and they are the user and so I think, I was drawn to the ones that were perhaps more honest and emotive, addressing aspects like the lack of separation between working and living.'


Marcos Rosello: 'It’s been really good because we have had time in between the judging process and you keep going back to the artwork and every time you go back to it, you see something different; it’s like fashion you know, you see this weird thing and you think, what is that? And then after a while it grows on you and you start to enjoy it and suddenly, you are wearing it. All of these entries are great.'


Anna Liu: 'I thought it was such a great array of entries ranging from commentary about this situation, perhaps more observational interpretations, to I suppose, some more propositional responses. I also really love how the competition has been set up to get the artist out of people and to also get them to think spatially and so, it’s not just a rhetoric. I thought the constraints put onto the brief as well as the openness was really good.'


Ross Hutchinson: 'I think the diversity of the responses, just so many different responses, was something I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting probably more literal interpretations but I think it was the ones that actually talked about their emotions or other observations and that were less literal that were very interesting.'


Victoria Whenray: 'I liked the way that the competition had been set up so that there was a small narrative attached to the artwork. Some of the narrative was really lovely but maybe didn’t come through so well in terms of the image and then some of the artworks were really arresting but perhaps the creativity in terms of the narrative was not there, making the judging really quite difficult.'

Roger Ashman: 'Seeing how other people have experienced this period, peeling back how people have actually been feeling working from home, what pushes their buttons and how they have responded to it, has been really interesting. For me the ones that really stood out were the ones that were trying to tell a story and linked their written statement with their visual representation very well.'

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JURY PANEL

Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, Victoria Whenray of Conran + Partners, Jas Bhalla of Jas Bhalla Architects, Ross Hutchinson of Hutchinson & Partners, Marcos Rosello of aLL Design & Roger Ashman of Ashman Architects

NEWS

Winners Announced: Reimagined Living & Working Space Competition

The Reimagined Living and Working Space Competition called for exciting and unique design proposals for what a living and working space might look and feel like, and how it might be experienced. Entrants were invited to depict their Reimagined Living and Working space proposal in a single artwork.

INTRO

The first prize winner of the Reimagined Living & Working Space Competition has been awarded to The Millennial Home by Ciaran Magee.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: REIMAGINED LIVING AND WORKING SPACE COMPETITION
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