UNITE Cowley, Parade Green is an 885-room halls of residence for students at Oxford Brookes University. Along with accommodation the new development includes a range of collaboration spaces, a gym, a shop, laundrette and café, all arranged around two quads and a central parade.
ARTIQ were brought onboard the project by award-winning architects Manalo & White to develop an art collection to engage and inspire the students with their new residence and to complement the outstanding contemporary design scheme. The interiors of the social spaces are designed to provide a balance of the domestic and dynamic for what might be a student’s first year away from home.
Working closely with UNITE, ARTIQ developed a student engagement strategy to celebrate the new art collection and to offer students a unique opportunity to select the art for the space that they will live and study within.
A social media poll was set up to offer students a choice between four themes of artwork for the space; Photography, Abstract, Illustration and Movie Posters. ARTIQ then employed the use of their innovative art voting tool Maestro to offer students a direct and accessible way to choose individual pieces of art from a diverse array of works curated by the leading art consultancy.
The works available to choose from included a mix of original art and archival photography, featuring pieces by some of the country’s most exciting young artists. Each work for consideration was handpicked by ARTIQ to evoke a sense of fun, to promote creativity and to inspire the students with study and university life.
Once selected, ARTIQ looked to curate the artworks bespoke to each area of the development including the gym, the dining areas, an area for quiet study and the games room.
In the study space, work can be seen by Spanish-born artist, Clara Duran. Clara uses photography as her main medium, pushing its boundaries and integrating other media such as painting, poetry and performance to investigate the relationship between human beings and the natural world.
Clara came to ARTIQ’s attention after entering and winning the 2015 edition of their annual The Graduate Art Prize, an initiative set up by ARTIQ to showcase and support the work of emerging graduate artists. Since winning the prize, she has since gone on to exhibit her work internationally at galleries across Europe and America. Clara’s vivid use of colour and her position as a graduate artist was chosen for the collection to evoke aspiration and to stimulate creative thinking in the study space.
A mix of photography, illustration and graphic inspired work can be seen in the curation for the common spaces, again including art by a number of prominent emerging artists. Each piece chosen for its contemporary style and use of a bold palette, the collection provides vivid bursts of colour and offers students a number of creative contemporaries to be inspired by.
Born in Paris, at an early age artist Laetitia Rouget first began to explore her artistic talent through drawing classes. After graduating from Central Saint Martin’s in London, she continued to explore different artistic realms such as painting, photography, fashion and fine art. Laetitia’s work focuses on print and colour, drawing inspiration from the catwalk, neo-classical art, cut-outs and all things surreal. Work too can be seen by illustrator and visual artist, Joe Rogers. Joe’s work is full of impact and vibrancy, inspired by the natural world, music and abstract imagery.
In the communal gym, a number of works can be seen by ARTIQ’s in-house studio artist Jessie Gardiner. Created bespoke for the space, Jessie worked closely with the client to develop a series of graphic inspired sports posters. The works on show use collage to provide a range of textures and colour for each piece, using abstracted shapes and form to evoke energy and movement.
Jessie’s works were installed by ARTIQ using the fly posting technique, offering a playful nod to the medium of graffiti and street art whilst helping to keep the space minimal and practical for students.
The collection for the games room saw ARTIQ turn to their archive connections to procure a number of iconic movie posters for the space including depictions of films Back To The Future, The Breakfast Club and Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. Offering playful and familiar cultural context, the posters provide the perfect discussion pieces for new students to connect over.
Following work on the Cowley development, ARTIQ have been commissioned to develop collections for further UNITE spaces including Horizon Heights (Liverpool) and Battery Park (Birmingham) where the consultancy will further roll out their strategy of student engagement and inspiring original art.