Public consultation, brand identity, cafe design, event coordination and delivery for U+I.
The Deptford Project – ‘The 35-tonne Valentine’s gift’. Studio Raw’s long-overdue gift of love to Deptford, a revamped 57-seated carriage, transformed to a vibrant café and bistro.
A historic part of London, once battered by the Blitz, and much neglected in recent times, Deptford is now on the up. But the story of its regeneration is not the usual property-development-gone-mad ‘fairy tale’ of our times; this corner of SE London is experiencing a different kind of progress, one with a sense of community and creativity placed firmly at its heart.
Studio Raw have been working with the property developers Cathedral Group since 2008 to generate ideas to engage the local community around The Deptford Project: a neglected yard to the rear of Deptford High Street that is part of a large-scale regeneration effort, due to get underway in 2011.
Our first challenge was to establish a vibrant and creative space that would herald the change taking place in Deptford, champion the transformation of this once derelict area and become a focal point for the existing community. The solution arrived at midnight on Valentine’s Day, 2008, after a painstaking two-miles-per-hour journey from Essex, clearing the railway bridge with just two inches to spare: a rescued 1960s 57-seater carriage, courtesy of South Eastern Trains.
In the spirit of regeneration, and with a nod to the area’s historic past, we transformed the carriage into a community café and bistro which operates as an independent business; it was an exciting new addition to Deptford High Street, which was welcomed by the local community and attracted new visitors to the area. Prices were reasonable, coffee was sustainably sourced and food was home-made from local ingredients.
Award-winning designer Morag Myerscough was commissioned to produce the visual identity for the carriage. The project was featured widely in the press including Vogue, Time Out (Editor’s Choice), Elle (Japan) and The Sunday Telegraph magazine, as well as on design and style blogs around the world.