Interior Architecture students’ winning proposal celebrated in France

From the UCA newsdesk….

A proposal by Architecture students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) to reimagine a former school building in Lens, France has been declared as the winner of an INTERREG ReCreate competition and celebrated with a launch event in Lens.

BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design students from UCA Farnham Veema Chellen and Charlotte Saben’s idea proposed a business start-up and exhibition space, which would act as a creative hub and support the area as a place of local art and design production. It would enable local artists, designers and students to create and display their work to members of the public.

“We focused on the design of the central exhibition space,” explained Charlotte. “It reflected the area of Lens’ past means of production – coal mining – as well as supporting new means of production, the art itself. The focal point of the space was the ‘black out’ pavilion, an enclosure where digital work could be projected and viewed by visitors.”

The inauguration event in Lens

The inauguration event in Lens

The proposal also included a Fab Lab – a digital fabrication space, which would provide access to a variety of digital fabrication processes.

Designers behind the winning idea

Veema and Charlotte

Charlotte and Veema were invited to the launch event in Lens, which was a grand lunch attended by community representatives, regional politicians, economists and entrepreneurs. Charlotte and Veema’s work was displayed around the venue and they were also interviewed by journalists from India, China and Korea.

“It was great to be a part of the launch party,” continued Charlotte. “We were able to hear ideas about the progression and changes of the project and how it fitted into the larger ReCreate initiative.”

The competition was part of the wider INTERREG ReCreate project, a collaborative initiative to support economic regeneration and job creation across the north of France and the south of England.

“This project was particularly enjoyable as we were able to face some of the challenges of working to a live brief,” said Charlotte. “Visiting Lens was a good experience – we were able learn about the area, its history and its culture.”

After graduating later this year, Charlotte hopes to work in the realms of sustainable design. For more information on the ReCreate project, please visit

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.

Image from the winning designThe fabrication lab as part of the winning idea

Charlotte and Veema’s designs


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