In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

Discover Storytelling Centre

Studio Weave have been commissioned to re-imagine the Discover Storytelling Centre in Stratford. 

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The World of Stories

The project aims to bring everything within the building into the World of Stories. The world of stories is based on the notion that each element within Discover can be re-imagined as a part of the narrative; stairs, lifts, toilets and lunch spaces all have the potential to be wonderful moments within the story.  The thresholds between outside and inside, and the first steps into this world can be celebrated in order to fully immerse visitors and staff in this world.

FirstSteps2.jpg
FirstSteps.jpg

Our design decisions were based on the principle of the ‘World of Stories’. The notion that everything within the building could be brought into the world of stories and imagined as part of the narrative has given rise to the creation of two distinct design languages for the building; that of the ‘Hostelry’ and that of the ‘Environment’.

204_KeysDiagram.jpg
Keys,doors&street.jpg Top layer: Different keys are needed to unlock different doors... Which door does your key unlock? Middle layer: Doors within the building lead to different stories... Who lives behind each door? Bottom layer: The Discover building as a character in the story... What is inside that building?
204_Thresholds.jpg Discover Thresholds
AlexandraTemperanceHotel.jpg The Hostelry

The evolving narrative behind the project considers the layers within Discover.  The building itself is the base layer, along with how it sits next to its neighbours and within the context of Stratford High Street.  The next layer is doors within the building, considering what shape these doors might take and who might live behind them.  The final layer is the keys that might unlock these doors.   

This concept is then applied to the story trail to inspire stories.  Using the physical building fabric as the basis, a number of settings are developed inside it.  These settings range from the atmospheric, to the more specific.  Within these settings, a number of objects are proposed.  These objects form the play elements.  The final layer is the keys; these keys may unlock parts of the objects and allow the key bearer access to a hidden narrative. 

204_151112_TreasureMaps_BASEMENT.jpg Basement Treasure Map
204_151112_TreasureMaps_gf.jpg Ground Floor Treasure Map
204_151112_TreasureMaps_1F.jpg First Floor Treasure Map

Bringing the Discover building into the story as a character is key to this evolving narrative.  Until now, this aspect has been missing from the Discover story and this is a perfect opportunity to involve it.  We imagine that the building might assume its former guise as a hostelry.  The hostelry accommodates characters who stay for various lengths of time. Hootah is imagined as a long-term resident and new characters are introduced who stay within the hostelry.  This approach allows us to develop the story in a process of creative engagement, inviting the public to be part of shaping Discover. 

characters.jpg 1. Eric and Ela, the Knight and Princess. 2. And their dragon, Richard Ignatius the Third. 3. There’s Hootah and his crew from Squiggly Diggly. They collect stories to send back to their planet to stop it from fading away. 4. The Professor, obsessed with the weather, the atmosphere and things climate-related. 5. Chompsky, the snappy crocodile, who patrols the sparkly river.

The Environments language develops the idea that these characters staying within the Hostelry create their own settings and objects; opportunities for play and the creation of stories. Some environments may be more fixed, as in the ground and first floor story trails, and others more temporary, such as in the exhibition or laboratory spaces. The Environments language imagines a different identity for each level of the building.  The ground floor story trail is imagined as an enchanted forest, with all sorts of strange and wonderful places and characters.  Whilst the Environment of the enchanted forest is the predominant design language, there are places where the Hostelry layer peeps through, particularly in the design and materiality of the in-built cabinetry.  

EntranceAxo.jpg Welcome Space
204_151110_ForestBuggyPark_View.jpg The Dark Forest
Gardenaxo.jpg Discover Terrace
Discover_JimStephenson-8 WebRes.jpg © Jim Stephenson

The cabinetry provides craft activity, story-telling and writing spaces and operational storage.  Whilst playing on the story trail, the presence of the Hostelry layer encourages you to come out of the immersive story trail environment for a while, and concentrate on developing your story.  The Hostelry layer provides you with tools to write, draw or perform your story as you develop it through things you find on the Story Trail.  It is a place you can go to focus on your story, outside of the world of play.   

Discover_JimStephenson-6 WebRes.jpg © Jim Stephenson
Discover_JimStephenson-17 WebRes.jpg © Jim Stephenson
Discover_JimStephenson-11 WebRes.jpg © Jim Stephenson

The first floor story trail is imagined as a world up in the clouds.  It is the layer at the top of the enchanted forest, floating above the ground below. Again, the Hostelry layer expresses itself in the cabinetry, providing places for story and character development, dressing up and recording your story.  The two levels of the Story Trail are directly connected via a new staircase to aid the flow of visitors around the building. Whilst not strictly within the Story Trail, the Environments language is continued into the second floor.  Here, there is a laboratory space and the control room as the Discover staff office. 

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