Winter Windows is our award-winning annual collaboration between architects and model makers at Squire & Partners and a group of local school-aged children, to create a winter lights display in the windows of our office, The Department Store.
Now in its fourth year, we have worked with Stockwell Primary, Hill Mead Primary and Lansdowne School, and most recently with 17-18 year old students in 2020 to address the lack of opportunity for young people locally during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the course of two workshops run by the practice, children are challenged to create expressive winter shapes based around emotions or senses such as excitement, light or cold. The children explore these alongside more traditional winter symbols such as snowflakes, sweets and gingerbread men.
The children are asked to refine their idea to one continuous line, which does not cross over itself or have any sharp angles. Armed with paper, pens, string and pipe cleaners, the children progress initial ideas, which are then tested in rope or the ‘line of light’ on a large floor area.
A panel of judges from Squire & Partners then select eight winning designs, and the modelshop team transform the children’s sketches into physical light installations.
The modelshop team create a CNC cut channel into a sheet of perspex, and into this is set a continuous strip of LED light.
Occupying an entire glazing panel of The Department Store, Winter Windows forms part of Brixton’s Christmas Light display throughout December and January.
The workshops are a great way to introduce children to the concept of design, including a tour of the modelshop to see how design ideas are explored and developed, as well as how to test ideas in order to work up a final design.
Winter Windows plays an important part in Squire & Partners' aim to create meaningful links with the local community in Brixton, stemming from the overall restoration of The Department Store building.
By liaising with local schools, we have been able to build long-lasting relationships and community ties, as well as bringing light, animation and fun to what was previously a dark and unwelcoming thoroughfare through Brixton.
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