PORTSMOUTH’S NEW CREATIVE QUARTER OPENS IT’S DOORS
We’ve been closely following the Hotwalls Studios project (once the ARTches) for many years from initial concept all the way through the approval, funding and construction and today, Friday 8th July, Hotwalls Studios is now open to the public. We first reported about the new arts quarter concept back in 2010, before we had our Strong Island at the Round Tower exhibition in 2011 that opened up the tower to the public for the first time in years. Portsmouth City Council have pushed on throughout the last 5+ years to make the project a reality, both conserving the much loved historic buildings for the future and giving a massive boost to local creative businesses.
…both conserving the much loved historic buildings for the future and giving a massive boost to local creative businesses
The completed studios and Canteen cafe are finished to a fantastic attention to detail and have an understated, clean feel whilst still rich with original features, textures and finishes
The empty arches in Old Portsmouth, once artillery barracks and also an unofficial home to art markets since the late 60s, have been converted into 13 working studios, using £1.75m from the government’s coastal communities fund, £100,000 of council funding and £40,000 from the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire. The completed studios and Canteen cafe are finished to a fantastic attention to detail and have an understated, clean feel whilst still rich with original features, textures and finishes. The floor to ceiling glazing encasing each art studio reflects back the colour and lines of the buildings opposite and the wide open courtyard area out front means this development settles comfortably and quietly in to the local environment. Hotwalls Studios has also come in under budget.
The transformation of these former barracks into these new art studios has brought life to this part of the city’s heritage, and is tipped to become highly sought-after studio space. Portsmouth has a thriving creative industry, with many successful established artists and companies, but there has been a lack of affordable studio space for some time (backed up with the results of the Creative Census). This new flexible arts location means high quality, authentic creative spaces working together as a small creative community that can be opened up and welcoming to the general public.
Nestled in the corner between the two lines of studios, next to the Round Tower is The Canteen, a deli-style eatery occupying some spaces not previously open to the public and also a brand new, awesome external seating platform looking out on the Solent and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. You access this new space through the old gunnery placement with its own view out on the water. Throughout the Canteen space you discover rich and authentic textures, fixtures, brick arched ceilings, views and there are still the layers of rich red rust here and there too. The work on this space, just like the studios, it to be commended, making for possibly one of the best locations to sit, eat and drink in the city.
Lucy and Bill Branson, the team from The Tenth Hole Tearooms, are behind the new venture: “We were blown away by the prestigious location and unique opportunity at the Hotwalls. We’ll be serving artisan sandwiches and freshly baked pastries, with great coffee and fresh juices.”
…making for possibly one of the best locations to sit, eat and drink in the city
All work carried out has to be superficial so it doesn’t damage the original appearance, which means we have to find creative solutions…
Specialist conservation architects EMRC and a experienced construction company Mountjoy were appointed to undertake the painstaking work of transforming the historic monument into modern and functional spaces, that can make the Hotwalls a sustainable piece of Portsmouth’s heritage for the future.
Deniz Beck, EMRC conservation architect said: “This site is of historic importance and has to be handled incredibly sensitivity. It was such a unique opportunity to be involved with a monument where parts date back 1300s. There aren’t that many scheduled monuments where this work is undertaken. All work carried out has to be superficial so it doesn’t damage the original appearance, which means we have to find creative solutions. It’s about minimal changes but maximising the character of the Hotwalls.
We trialled ideas in one studio so we could make adjustments. The site has changed over the years and you can see the different methods of construction, which at times weren’t great but we have to preserve everything because it all tells a story.”
The Hotwalls Studios site is now fully accessible to the public, with the individual studio opening times varying, dependent on the working hours of artists and designer-makers in residence.
The Canteen is open 8am – 5pm all year round, staying open until 9pm from May to September for wine, craft beer and sharing platters.
Hotwalls Studios and The Canteen can be found on Broad Street, Old Portsmouth. Find out more at:
THE STUDIO RESIDENTS
Organic fabrics are dyed with natural dyes, printing and resist techniques are used to make furoshiki, bags and wearable textiles. A furoshiki is a versatile Japanese wrapping cloth – a square piece of fabric which can be folded and knotted into various bags or used to wrap gifts for special occasions. Find out more at: refold.space
Specialises in woven textiles and studied at the Swedish School of Textiles. Alice now runs frame loom weave workshops around Portsmouth called “Hume Looms” which are all handmade from recycled wood. Find out more at: alicehume.co.uk
Recent film production graduates undertaking a new venture, with great ambitions and a rapidly expanding portfolio of work.
Illustrator and designer creating embroidered homeware such as cushions and lampshades. Using freehand machine embroidery and applique techniques to create illustrations of British architecture and landmarks. Find out more at: emmanicolillustration.co.uk
Potter who trained with a tenth generation traditional Greek potter, thirty years ago in Athens. Living in Greece and Berlin and travelling to central America to work with native potters has influenced work.
Fire Monkey Arts
Collective of artists and makers, great deal of variety involved Some are artists with paint, easels and brushes, others make textiles, craft gifts, or work with hama beads. Still others use resins to cast 3D items or create carved leather works. Find out more at: facebook.com/firemonkeyarts
Artist and designer based both in Portsmouth, England and Istanbul, Turkey. Specialises in traditional and contemporary Ebru, the historically fascinating Turkish art of marbling/painting on thickened water.
Professional artist based in Portsmouth, his work is based around people and portraiture. His portrait of Pompey supporter John PFC Westwood was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and Southampton City Gallery in 2009 as part of the BP Portrait Awards and is featured in the book 500 portraits: BP Portrait Award by Sandy Nairn. Find out more at: rudziak.co.uk
Inspired by nature and organic forms, Laura’s ranges of beautiful hand-made jewellery are sympathetically composed from the combination of precious metals and precious / semi-precious stones. Find out more at: laurabennettjewellery.co.uk
Captures the images of seaside life by deconstructing the photographic images and reconstructing paintings in her unique simple and honest style. Find out more at: icanseethesea.com
Collective of three contemporary artists; Sarah Radford, Ruth Lacey & Emma Plato. Our shared influences stem from vintage design and our immediate environment.
Partnership of two traditional creatives on an exciting new venture. Purveyors of fine textile interiors, grand décor, art installation and apparel, The Sacred Obscene take an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary craft.
Batch-maker Print Studio
Each of the printers (M-One & Petting Zoo) has their own style and take inspiration from a vast array of culturally scattered sources – but they’re united by a preference for hand-pulled prints, the quiet thrill of technical triumphs and the fun of an unpretentious, affordable art market.
Fire Monkey Arts
Fire Monkey Arts
Fire Monkey Arts