English Heritage regeneration project points way to interiors work

There may soon be an opportunity for interior designers to help English Heritage protect and regenerate Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

EH bought JW Evans, a silverware and plate manufacturer in the heart of the area, in April, and the charity is now planning to restore the property (pictured right) so future generations can understand and appreciate Britain’s industrial past.

A spokeswoman for EH says it will be looking for interior designers in the next two years to restore parts of the building, which consists of four terraced houses and contains offices, store rooms and workshops including areas for manufacturing silver.

Initial work will focus on urgent repairs, says the spokeswoman, such as fixing leaking roofs. After that EH will embark on a longer-term plan to secure the structure of the building by the summer of 2011. EH is still in discussions about funding for the project, the spokeswoman adds. The work is in the initial planning stages, and it has not been decided if the silversmith will be preserved as a working studio or as a museum.

Meanwhile, Holmes Wood has been appointed to create graphic designs initially to promote fundraising efforts for the redevelopment scheme.

Holmes Wood is creating a sub-brand within EH for JW Evans alongside graphic presentations and promotional material (pictured left), which include a microsite on the EH website, brochures, invitations to special events and folder covers.

‘We have used the old Evans letterhead as our inspiration for the hand-drawn Evans logo, and for the imagery on the pamphlets and marketing material we are using pictures that try to capture the atmosphere of the building,’ says Holmes Wood creative director Lucy Holmes.

‘Where the silversmiths stopped work everything has been left in place, and the building has a Dickensian, Miss Havisham feel to it, which we have used as inspiration.’

Three members of Holmes Wood are working on the project – Holmes is leading two designers, Ali McConnachie and Matteo Rosso. The consultancy is on the EH design roster and worked on its conservation principles manuals two years ago (DW 14 April 2006). It was appointed this month by the same client team.

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