Student exhibition on display at Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange, which was taken over by developer Rushbond in March last year, will undergo a series of improvements in the coming months, with Product Design students creating furniture to be used on the reconfigured ground floor.
Robin Brinkworth, Senior Lecturer in the Leeds School of Arts, said: “Our students have truly embraced the fast pace of this four-week project and developed really fun, creative and innovative concepts for the space.
“The project has given them a valuable insight into working in the design industry and designing furniture in response to a brief set by a real client. It provided a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of Rushbond’s sensitive development of this wonderful and historic building.
“Our students had to consider the truly unique environment of the Corn Exchange and celebrate the art of food and community. It was essential their ideas should accommodate the flexible nature of the Kitchen Yard, so furniture needed to be easily reconfigurable and accommodate approximately 100 covers.”
The lower ground floor of the Corn Exchange will be transformed into an independent food and drinks space with a new Kitchen Yard, which will also host events and exhibitions.
All the designs – including designs of tables and chairs - created by students will be exhibited in the space during March and April. The most successful design will then be taken into production for installation later this year.
Georgina Maud, creative assistant at Rushbond, says: “The Corn Exchange has a fascinating heritage and we feel very proud to be heralding a new era within these beautifully curved walls and attract more and more people to meet, eat and shop here.
“We are big believers in the importance and power of design, and were keen to tap into the talent of the future by joining forces with the University’s product design students. Some of the results have been very innovative and indeed inspirational.
“The Corn Exchange attracts a huge age range of people including families, students and young professionals, and one of our main focusses has been making the building more accessible to people in wheelchairs and those with pushchairs. Now that we have achieved that, we’re keen to ensure that the new areas like the Kitchen Yard, are developed to their full potential, so the design competition is a great way of achieving this.”
Robin added: “Our alumni team has helped us to connect the University with several City Centre projects, allowing our students to engage creatively with the City’s heritage and hopefully help to retain our talented young designers here in Leeds.
“This project has been part of our student’s final assessment and has been a fantastic way of utilising a real-life scenario that will not only showcase the students’ work via the exhibition, but also see one of the designs taken into production.”
The exhibition opened last week and the designs will be on display until 23 April.