We recently completed a commission at Southwold primary school in Hackney. Working with artist and designer Haidée Drew, students from year 4 took part in workshops inspired by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, which resulted in Haidée creating a spatial artwork for a double height corridor in their school.
Students learnt about Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture and his use of curves and abstract forms in his buildings, making comparisons with their own school architecture. Haidee discussed how each of his buildings began with drawings, showing students Niemeyer’s loose sketches.
This project started with students doing some observational drawings of their schools’ architecture, noting the differences between the Victorian facades and their modern extension. Haidée then introduced students to continuous line drawing (drawing without taking their pencil off the paper), abstracting their drawings to create large collaborative artworks.
Students then took their abstract drawings of elements of their school and created 3D shapes and extrusions, using folding and tape. They began to think about hanging shapes in space, which would encourage new ways to experience the height of the schools’ corridor.
Ideas were then refined to feed into the final commission. Working in small groups, students selected the 3D shapes they felt were most effective. They then decided on colour palettes and scale.
Working together, they made coloured card maquettes in different sizes and then tested out what they might look like as a composition, using a mock-up space replicating the corridor.
I enjoyed this because we got to work together to make lots of things
Year 4 pupil
Haidée then took all the students’ work to use their ideas as a starting point for the final commission. She developed 3D shapes and interpreted the children’s enjoyment of busy compositions to develop a gradated sculptural piece for the corridor. You can see images of the final installed artwork below.
Thank you so much for helping our school and making it better!
Year 4 pupil
We are delighted by the outcome, I can’t help but look up every time I walk through the corridor.
Stephen O’Brien, Headteacher
Please get in touch if you would be interested in a commission-based project at your school.