We speak to Interior and Spatial Design students Michael Nicholson and Olivia Nisbet about their Degree Show projects.
‘The Loud Silence’: a non-binary creative venue for fashion designer Harris Reed
Interior and Spatial Design student, Michael Nicholson, has drawn up plans to transform a now derelict public hall in the west of Edinburgh.
Redevelopment of a stone ruin in the west of Edinburgh
Both of Michael’s grandparents worked in the hall, and at one stage his mother’s family also lived in one of its outbuildings.
He said: “I now live quite near it and see it often. It’s just a stone ruin now - I wanted to redevelop it and give it a completely new function. That’s where the idea for ‘The Loud Silence’ began.”
Michael, who expresses himself through clothing, wanted to create a fashion studio and showcase event space for non-binary clothing brand Harris Reed, where people could be completely themselves:
“You get looks when you walk down the street dressing the way I do. I’m trying to embrace that and turn it into something positive.”
Celebrating and embracing the transformative power of clothing, the new plans include an extension, and go into the ground by 11 metres.
The design comprises of one open three-storey building, with a structured walkway made of Corten steel – this is the reimagined catwalk. With twists and turns, the walkway represents the different routes your life takes.
Together with Edinburgh Napier Lecturer, Fabian Galama, Michael has created three skins: the first skin being the body, the second the clothes and the third the physical space.
He said: “The body in itself is a space that takes up a geographical form that it is located in. My building has become a gender fluid non-binary space.
“Just as human skin can act as a way of identifying or labelling a person, one only has to dig a little deeper for the uniqueness and individuality to be uncovered. Echoing this into design, where a space can be much more than just external appearance.”
Michael hopes that ‘the loud silence’ of gender issues can one day be a thing of the past, and that society can learn to appreciate people for who they are.
Reimagining the Nevis range for the future
‘Summit’ to save snowsports
By 2090, it’s estimated that snowsports will cease to exist due to climate change. This shocking prediction, paired with her love of mountain sports, spurred fourth year Interior and Spatial Design student, Olivia Nisbet, into action.
“I’ve always been passionate about the mountains. The Ben Nevis range is a massive part of that, it’s special. It’s the excitement of coming off the gondola and waiting at the start gate. Whether it’s biking in summer to skiing in winter. It’s sad to think that that could all change.”
With climate change already affecting winter sports, the reality of climate change has set in for Olivia:
“When I read about climate change, it’s sometimes hard to think of this on a personal level. Whereas, if you consider that you won’t be able to enjoy the sports that you love in 20-30 years really brings it into focus.”
Olivia wanted to transform an existing café/bar in the Nevis Range into a more multi-functional space, where people can socialise but also learn from each other:
“My vision for the Nevis range is to design a platform that can bring together climate representatives and sporting athletes onto the mountain, to bring awareness to this threat.
“To do this, I want to create an informal strategy towards climate summit events, whilst maintaining Nevis’s position as an epic mountain destination for Scotland.”
Olivia’s design would look to mobilise the 150,000 mountain enthusiasts who visit Nevis yearly into socialising with the climate activists, ‘to weaponise the outdoor community into a political force working to fight climate change.’
Olivia’s design has sustainability in mind throughout, from solar panelling to insulation and the materials used. The design also incorporates the gondola lift and Nevis World Cup starting gate also becoming part of the building’s structure – to ‘bring the sport and the building together as one.’