Created: Wednesday, 26th February, 2014 - 14:26

Second year Interior Architecture & Design students at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham are taking part in the ReCreate initiative to redefine the function of former school buildings in Lens, France. As part of the initiative, the students have recently been on a visit to the city which is located in the Pas-de-Calais region.
 
The ReCreate initiative is a collaborative project with the University d’Artois, which supports economic regeneration and job creation through the development of creative enterprises across the north of France and the south of England. The project in Lens brings together research, higher education and technology, and is part of a wider regional regeneration strategy, involving similar clusters in Lille. 

The former school buildings in the city of Lens have been identified to house one of the ReCreative enterprise centres, and are located near to the recently opened Louvre-Lens museum. The buildings will host a management team, a Fab Lab (digital fabrication unit), workspaces and an exhibition facility. The students will be responsible for developing the potential of the site along with University d'Artois furniture design students, and will jointly present their proposals towards the end of the project. 
 
This is the second collaborative project that the Farnham based Interiors department has worked on with a French University; last year, MA Interior Design students worked with the University CUEEP in Calais on a project in Flers, Normandy.
 
Course Leader Peter Waters said: “A cross border project like this not only enables our students to experience a live brief, but it also encourages them to step away from their, perhaps, overly familiar surroundings to experience a similar but sufficiently different culture. They also have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the role that an interior designer can play in the regeneration process.”
 
Design briefs for each of the projects were determined by the local authority in consultation with cultural and business stakeholders relevant to each case, providing the students working on the initiative with the realities of a live project for the first time.
 
“We all enjoyed the trip so much,” said Kate Woollin, Second year Interior Architecture & Design student at UCA. "We feel privileged and excited to be able to work with French students and the community in Lens. This project is a great opportunity for us to get a feel for how projects work outside of University and is a really good experience for us to talk to future employers about.”
 
The experience and ideas emerging from the French projects will help to inform a similar UK based design project that the UCA Interior Architecture & Design course is involved with, and the collected outcomes will be presented in a UCA publication later in the year. The ReCreate initiative is selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVA France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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