In February, for one week, 120 design students and academics from around the world gathered at Leeds College of Art for the annual Group for International Design Education (GIDE) workshop.
Each year students meet and work together on a set brief. This year’s theme was “Welcome In” which challenged students to design new entrance ways for six buildings in Leeds. Each building houses a local cultural organisation which needs to attract people through its doors. These included: the Art Hostel Leeds, a brand new hostel designed and run by artists; Inkwell, who use the arts to promote mental wellbeing; The Old Red Bus Station on Vicar Lane, which opened during the week of GIDE as a venue and community education space.
Each organisation was trying to attract a broad range of users and to make its entrance as enticing and accessible as possible.
Students visiting the Art Hostel visit
Students worked in groups of ten to come up with innovative design concepts for one of the spaces. At the end of the week they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges including representatives of the buildings that they had designed for.
The winning proposal was for the Inkwell which is based in Chapel Allerton. The innovative and exciting design transformed the exterior of the building using geometric shapes and lines to lead people into the building. The judges selected it because it was visually dynamic and also an appropriate and realistic design which considered the needs of the organisation, the local environment and the available budget.
GIDE was founded twelve years ago, based on an idea by Graham Savage from Leeds College of Art and Nansi Van Geetsom from Thomas More University College, Mechelen in Belgium. Since then it has grown to include design schools from Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium, China and Italy.
This year’s event was organised by staff and students of the BA (Hons) Visual Communication course at Leeds College of Art. They worked tirelessly on preparations for the event including designing a temporary entrance for the Carriageworks Theatre in Millennium Square where the workshop was launched.
Ice breaker exercise