Winter Windows 2020 at Brixton’s Department Store

Winter Windows 2020 at The Department Store

Squire & Partners Winter Windows 2020 is now brightening up Brixton. In its fourth year, the illuminated installation at The Department Store in Ferndale Road is a partnership between the architectural firm and local schools and community groups.

The annual community project  – which won a Frame international design award earlier this year – in 2020 identifies the acute lack of opportunity for young people locally during the pandemic.

Collaborating with community organisation We Rise, five year 13 students (age 17-18) from Elm Green and Norwood secondary schools had the opportunity to work with architects and modelmakers from Squire & Partners.

Students designed the installation while developing new skills in creative collaboration, design development, software, making and visual display.

The installation will remain on display through December and January.

Jack Hopkins, leader of Lambeth council, who attended the launch said: “We need to make sure people from diverse backgrounds are getting the breaks, the introductions, the experience – are getting a better future.

neon creation

“Winter Windows at The Department Store – funded by Squire & Partners and supported by We Rise via Lambeth council’s ELEVATE programme – is a brilliant example of this, creating valuable career insights and opportunities to local young people at a pivotal stage in their lives.”

The final designs include a superhero cape, reindeer antlers, fairy queen wings and a musical microphone.

neon creations in window

Winter Windows is a collaboration between a group of local school-aged children supported by WeRise and designers from Squire and Partners. Previous schools were Stockwell Primary in 2017 and Hill Mead Primary in 2018 and  Lansdowne in 2019.

Polly Waterworth of We Rise said: “We are so pleased to have been able to collaborate with Squire & Partners to create Winter Windows.

neon creations in window

”It has given five local young students interested in creative careers the invaluable opportunity to respond to a real design brief and gain experience of actually delivering it.”

Tim Gledstone, a partner at Squire & Partners, said: “Our annual Winter Windows installation took a different turn in 2020, offering the gift of opportunity to five young people about to leave school and embark on their future at a challenging time.

student creating neon display

”The students were able to learn about creative process from concept through to completion. They brought vision and life to the project, growing in confidence as they developed knowledge in the design and delivery of a live project.”

young people in front of window

The final result creates a portfolio piece for each student – Tayla, Geraldine, Jesse, Nafisa and Natalia.

The experience

Working on this project has been an amazing one of a kind experience! Doing what I love with other young people who share a similar interest has been very fun and interesting as we have been able to work together to create a story which would hopefully uplift people in such a difficult and confusing time.

Lockdown has been a very scary ride for everyone – it has brought some closer together but also separated others. With these lights we would like to demonstrate that there is still hope and that everyone’s spirits could be uplifted when they walk past.

I’m very happy that I took on this opportunity when it came about because it was all a learning experience for me. I enjoyed every step of it and at the end of it all I’m proud to say that I created my own neon light with the help of my mentors.

The process of making the designs taught me that refining with constant feedback is very important to get the best outcome.
This was a great experience, which was very exciting for me and gave me more possibilities for my future.

Tayla, Geraldine Jesse, Nafisa, Natalia
Elm Green and, Norwood secondary schools

Squire & Partners
Tim Gledstone, Julia Nicholls, Omar Lado, Beth Mills, Isabel Fletcher Hannah Stubbs

We Rise
Polly Waterworth, Rachael Palmer
We Rise is supported by Lambeth council’s ELEVATE programme for young people interested in the creative and cultural sector.

Gareth Gardner