Assemble is a UK-based collective of artists and architects who critically examine the relationship between design, public space and public life. The collective fluctuates between 16 and 20 members, but relies heavily on participation from the public. Although their portfolio is quite diverse and experimental, a few common threads are always present:
The relationship between the design and the public is critical. Much of their work centers on the disconnect between the public itself and how public space comes to be, and comes to be used. Like many of our honorees, Assemble operates on the conviction that public space is for the people, and that they should be involved in its creation. In their own words, “the idea that how spaces are imagined is often as important as their physical characteristics in determining their use.”
The work also heavily relies on a DIY ethic and aesthetic.
An often-cited project that demonstrates both of these convictions is the Cineroleum. The project was self-initiated, and involved turning an abandoned petrol station into a temporary cinema. The whole project was done with inexpensive, reclaimed and donated materials and wore its DIY nature on its sleeve. The ‘cinema’ was only ever really separated from the busy street by a curtain – a curtain that was lifted at the film screening.
Their temporary installations have occasionally been so provocative that they become permanent. “Folly for a Flyover” temporarily transformed a highway underpass into a public venue, inviting the general public to come to workshops, talks, tours and theater. Over nine weeks, 40,000 local residents attended. The success of the project attracted permanent funds from the London Legacy Development Corporation, which has allowed the site to continue being used as a public space.
Learn more at the links below.