Grenidorm - The Environment Keeps Happening To Me with Mark Sutherland, Dean Pankhurst, Lia Quijano, Issy Wright, Lissi Simpson-Watt, Evanne Kok, Joseph Curle, Cal Lum, An Thu Giang:
Our first impression of Crowley’s Wharf was the absolute silence and the feeling of urbanisolationit creates; the wharf was detached from London and surprisingly peaceful, offering the atmosphere of a seaside town. Our concepts often varied but all were thorough and allowed for possible expansion. We had many democratic votes on what our raft should contain, and came to the conclusion that we wanted to create a version of ‘Benidorm’ away from Benidorm. Once we came to the conclusion that we wanted our raft to reflectthe British culture that we historically imposed upon Spain (Benidorm) back onto England, our once entirely self-centred concept became more social – giving the community their own micro-holiday for as long as the tide was up – we could refine what we wanted to show and say with our intervention. We were torn between crafting a representative ‘film set’, in terms of detail that feels lived in, and a symbolic space that encapsulated the spirit of the British package holiday, where the user’s experience dictated curation instead of pure visuals.
Once we had narrowed down the use of the raft, we began to focus on who would use Grenidorm. The team was broken up into sub-groups that consisted of a practical side and a narrative side. We paid particular attention to the tidal movement of the area we were working in, using it as a basis for our original concepts. When the idea of a micro holiday surfaced we then began to use the isolation of the area as an advantage, drawing parallels between the act of going on holiday and the forced solitude of the raft. The original intention and final execution considered the vernacular architecture and responded with an outcome that juxtaposed these elements, and although we were notable to embark on the raft at high tide we were able to project the atmosphere and experience onto the raft from the bank side.
The outcome did not fully go to plan, however the projection of the atmosphere was effective. And the fact that we improvised and adapted the experience through the music, the beer, flyers and postcards, made the presentation feel more natural and genuine. The project gained attention from the port authorities and the police due to the technically illegal nature of the situation. Cruisers took photographs of the raft and eventually arrived in the evening, we assume, to take the structure away. It would have been incredibly difficult for us to remove the raft ourselves at evening low tide due to hazardous conditions. We planned to take the structure away in the morning at low tide, but instead arrived to find it completely missing. This situation highlights the ligatious nature of public space, and calls into question again ‘Who owns the Thames?’ and who has to right to use it?