The visual arts in Cambridge are set to receive a boost, with the opening of the revamped Wysing Arts Centre this week.
The £1.7m centre, incorporating a total of nine buildings, has been in development for three years, with design by architect Hawkins Brown, while London branding consultancy OSB Design has created a signage system and graphics.
Funding for the project has come from the Arts Council, the East of England Development Agency, South Cambridgeshire District Council and a number of private donors.
The centre features studio space for up to 25 international and national artists, gallery space redeveloped from an existing space, an education space, a new media facility, a reception area and café.
The ‘statement’ building aims to echo the organisation’s international reach, according to a Wysing spokeswoman. She says that the team has been working with a number of international artists, including Shezad Dawood, Chemi Rosado-Seijo and Danish social architect N55. The building needed to reflect this.
‘We wanted to steer away from something typically rural. It had to be a big statement to match where we’re going, though sensitive to the locality,’ she says.
The building uses deep red brick and dark wood, complemented by panels of glass and black louvre used to maintain consistent ventilation and temperature.
Across the studio space, Hawkins Brown has kept heating, lighting and service circuits to the floors and ceiling in an attempt to create maximum wall space, one of the requirements specified by the resident artists.
OSB Design, which created the Wysing brand a number of years ago, has been working on brand consistency across the website, signage and other touch points.
‘Wysing is all about cutting- edge and experimental contemporary visual arts, which is reflected in the branding,’ says a spokeswoman for the organisation.
One of the first projects to feature on the centre’s art programme will be an architectural installation by a collective involving German artists Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser. The piece, which is likely to be titled Waste Town, takes inspiration from Joseph Beuys and will be made from discarded architectural elements such as window and door frames.
The piece, scheduled for completion by summer 2008, will be fully functional, and will be used to host events, lectures and workshops.