Annual Christmas decoration project took pandemic as its theme

Squire & Partners has switched on its fourth annual Winter Windows installation designed by local schoolchildren.

The neon signs will be displayed in the windows of the architect’s self-designed offices in Brixton, The Department Store, until late January.

The designs, telling a story about coronavirus – what has been lost and gained and hopes for the future – were designed by five Year 13 students from Elm Green and Norwood secondary schools.

Designing Social Value logo

In previous years Squires has worked with younger children but this year wanted to address the acute lack of opportunity for young people during the pandemic.

In a series of socially distanced and bubble-friendly workshops backed up with online tutorials, architects from Squire & Partners worked with Brixton community organisation We Rise and five 17- to 18-year-olds to develop new skills in creative collaboration, design, software, making, wiring and visual display.

Early-stage designs were refined before being drawn up on SketchUp and Rhino, cut by CNC in the practice’s modelshop and then assembled, wired and tested by the students.

Squires 10.WinterWindows2020_c.GarethGardner_lowres

Source: Gareth Gardner

Squires partner Tim Gledstone said: “Our annual Winter Windows installation took a different turn in 2020, offering the gift of opportunity to five young people about to leave school and embark on their future at a challenging time.

“The students were able to learn about creative process from concept through to completion and combine timeless analogue design with cutting-edge digital skills.

“They brought vision and life to the project, growing in confidence as they developed a spectrum of knowledge in the design and delivery of a live project.

Squires 22.WinterWindows

“On display throughout December and January, the final installation creates an uplifting artwork for the local Brixton community, and will be a powerful portfolio piece to support their future goals – opening doors with employers by showing initiative, collaboration, skills and having a portfolio show stopper.”