Traces – a design trip back to 1936

A little space in Peckham has been transported back to 1936: the sights, the smells, the stories – it’s all there, thanks to the creative brains behind Traces.

Suelan - Cherie
Suelan – Cherie

The incredible, immersive design selling show launched last year, when organisers Donna Walker, Talulah Mason, Liam Morrisey and Sarah Barrett (who have partnered with Designersblock) transformed a disused pub in east London into a 19th-century brothel.

Alice Duck, floral cups
Alice Duck, floral cups

Visitors were enveloped by the smells, the sounds of prostitutes crying and – perhaps less hauntingly  – a plethora of beautiful design pieces, arranged as though part of the original fabric of the building.

Marina Dragomirova
Marina Dragomirova

This same aesthetic – no labels, no visible prices – is now being applied to the new venue in Rye Lane, Peckham.

Alexander Meli, Disney
Alexander Meli, Disney

The site is within the Rye Lane arcade, and organisers have taken its former guise as the Holdron department store – owned by one Mr Selfridge –  for inspiration, drawing on the look and feel of the outlet, which once spanned 135-147 Rye Lane.

Annabel Perrin - Pavilion Cushion.
Annabel Perrin – Pavilion Cushion.

Focusing in particular on Holdron’s 1936 heyday, Traces is shaped by around 100 artists and designers who have worked to ‘recreate the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the arcade’s past’, according to organisers.

Dionne Sylvester
Dionne Sylvester

Once known as ‘the Oxford Street of the south’, the store was designed by architects TP Bennetts, and the original façade is still in place now.

Giovanna Del Sarto Holdron, Beano Poster
Giovanna Del Sarto Holdron, Beano Poster

The design pieces will be nestled alongside many of the original Holdron’s features that survive on the site behind the arcade’s drop ceilings and fake walls, including a curved concrete and galls ceiling and a concrete staircase.

Gordon W Robertson, Red Room Spun Pewter Bowls
Gordon W Robertson, Red Room Spun Pewter Bowls

Among the designs on show will be 13 new commissions from designers including  The Soft City, Custhom, Nic Parnell, Marina Dragamirova, Camilla Meijer, Marc Trotereau and Sahar Freemantle.

Laura Lane
Laura Lane

Working as a not-for-profit organision, Traces charges a very reasonable 25 per cent commission on all the work sold, and this goes back into creating future events.

Jessica Jackson, Wafax
Jessica Jackson, Wafax

Traces takes place from 7 – 16 February at 135a Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15

Traces logo
Traces logo

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