Plans unveiled at Midlands complex

A trio of high-profile design groups is working alongside Alsop Architects on the £40m c/PLEX arts and creative industries project in West Bromwich, it has emerged this week.

Wolff Olins has come up with the name and is finalising elements of the branding for the four-storey, 9000m2 complex, which will house gallery and retail space, education and conference facilities, as well as cafés and restaurants and a business incubator.

Ben Kelly Design is working on exhibition design in collaboration with Digit, whose involvement with interactive issues was revealed last year (DW 28 November 2002).

The brand identity is expected to be unveiled in March, when work begins on site. As the flagship component of a £200m regeneration of West Bromwich town centre, c/PLEX is the result of a ten-year quest by Jubilee Arts director Sylvia King to bring together the area’s arts, community and technology provision.

Ben Kelly Design and Digit are understood to have been working for around six months on ‘interactive strategy and design for the galleries’, with the former responsible for the graphical signage. Currently known as Gallery X, the visitor attraction will showcase new media and audio-visual work over three floors in a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The building’s central internal feature, designed by architect Will Alsop, will be the focal point of the interior design scheme. Variously described as a ‘helter skelter’ and a ‘Guggenheim-style spiralling ramp’, it provides the main pathway for circulation through the space as well as a platform for further exhibits.

Due to open in 2005, c/PLEX will offer 1200m2 of rental space for local creative businesses.

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