Leeds College of Art / event

What happened on Wednesday night?

Well... our client Leeds College of Art had a party to celebrate their 170th year. We were commissioned to design an exhibition for the one night event and a high spec book. Here's how it went down: When we got the brief last year it was clear to see that budget and time related restrictions meant the solution had to be something out of the ordinary. By that I mean because it was on one night, it seemed slightly over the top (not to mention logistically not worth it) to build an exhibition and hang work in the traditional pictures-on-a-wall style. Plus the money available got used up pretty quickly when we explored going down that avenue. So instead, we designed an exhibition of people. People are great for this – they take two minutes to install and take down, they represent the college today and (as an added bonus) they form an exhibit you could have a chat with. So 15 very patient student volunteers obliged to make this idea reality...

Very rough CGI visual of how the night was intended to look

The biggest and most challenging piece of work was to design a garment which could carry the artwork of the 15 courses offered by LCA today. We worked for a few months with designer Jeannie Hamblett to develop the design which went through a few iterations before it was complete. The final piece (designed and suggested by Jeannie after we came to the conclusion that my idea looked like something from Flash Gordon) was a kind of oversized but tailored shirt/lab coat. It looked amazing.

Jeannie's garment sketch
First garment made up
Exhibit 00
An exhibit in conversation
The event

Then there was the book. 170 Years in the Making. A book cataloguing notable alumni from those 170 years including people like Damien Hirst and Henry Moore. LCA wanted something posh and something posh is what they got! The whole night was a success with my personal favourite quotes from the night being as follows: From a student 'oh, these garments don't look so bad in real life. They looked awful in the visual'... and from one of the staff 'I walked in and thought what the f*ck is going on here’.

As Eric Kessels says 'If nobody hates it, nobody will love it'.

(Photos by Luke Holroyd)

The books
The book