Simona Giordano (she/her)
I am an interior designer with and interest in placemaking and a background in social studies and local development. My practice consists in combining my interest towards arts and design with phenomenology and human behaviour, while prioritising territory and heritage. Since moving to Glasgow, I’ve been fascinated by the fallacy of Identity in the globalised world we live in.
Taking part in various Erasmus+ projects around Europe, has helped me develop an interest towards vernacular architecture and traditional crafts, which has helped me shaping my interests and goals as a designer.
The Old Foundry
The Canal Workshops are among the oldest remaining builds on any canal in Scotland. Built in the 18th century, these building, born as a base for coach service, had been reconverted into a small steel Foundry for just a few years, in the 18th Century. Most of its structure was dismantled, and all its left today is a series of 3 ranges. My proposal is to convert them into a heritage and design centre that celebrates its industrial past and the city’s prestgious manifacturing that, thanks to the waterways, was able to be exported all over the world.
The Old Foundry offers three galleries, a small library, a casting workshop, a cafe and a shop, in the hope of inspiring new generations of creatives, while supporting the present scene and rediscovering the heritage of our city.
This project was inspired by a reflection on the Covid-19 quarantine, and how the ‘stay safe, stay home’ campaign has influenced the way we related to the outdoors and our homes. The pandemic, with its homebound restrictions has led many to look for an ‘escape’ from the ‘new reality’. That escape could have been a walk in the park, reading a book, watching a movie etc. Walking was one of the most accessible activities that could be carried out safely outdoors. T With its unique landscape, sights and outdoor activities, many Glaswegians chose the canal as the setting for their daily walk. The Old Foundry, wants to bring a similar experience as to ‘walking and exploring a new environment’, while providing a sense of place to the area, and celebrating its history. The journey throughout the space is inspired by the journey of an iron ore, from being excavated to its transformation to steel. I wanted to stress that sense of change and transformation, while making the user walk and explore , sensing the change of ceiling heights, lights, and thresholds
The Museum is accessed by crossing the basculant bridge adjacent to the Old Basin, in Applecross Street, Hamiltonhill.
The main entrance features a steel tunnel, lit by glowing red/orange neon lights, as to recall the idea of fire and incandescent metal.
The Lobby is designed to contrast the industrial look of the facade, with the use of warmer tones, pastel colours and the double storey height.The original clock tower presents the addition of a molten steel scultpure, that represents the act of pouring metal from high up cauldrons, in victorian foundries.
As you enter the museum, the compression from the tunnel and the red light is relieved by the natural light from the double-storey glazed ceiling. As the building was continuously transformed, with added ranges and walls, the entrance reveals one of the original exterior walls that bears a victorian look, with the bricked sign of the foundry. At its end, a tempered steel door unveals the beginning of the journey.
The Old Foundry celebrates the past and history of industrial glasgow and its artisans. It also acknoledges how this heritage has been adopted by the local art and design scene and wants to provide historical cardinal points, that are essential to consolidate the future of the made in Glasgow. In The Mine, we start our journey through the foundry, in parallel with the journey of an iron ore.
The walls and ceilings, shaped with micro-cement, are carved to provide niche-like displays.
A steel mesh is draped allo around the tunnel, as to mimic the nets, holding the mine walls and roof, to stop them from
collapsing. The main alcoves will display the made in Glasgow products, that were designed and created, in the
area around the canal. This gallery also features small port-holes which unveils a hidden detail of the artifact.
The Foundry is our next stop into our journey. Once excavated, the iron ore is refined and in facilities like Foundries, it would be melt and casted into a sand mould to take shape into a new object. This gallery focuses on contemporary art practices that focus on materiality
and its manipulation. Many times the line between design and art is blurred, and they have historically inspired one another.
This gallery wants to provide a space for inspiration and a place for contemporary and local practicioners.
Another feature of this room is the spill of steel that runs across the Foundry floor and reaches the second floor.
On the journey to the upper floor, we have a little window placed on the workshops wall that provides a perfomative moment that complements the art gallery.
The Tempering Room
When arrived on the second floor, a mirror-polished tempered steel plate welcomes the user to the Tempering Room.
The Tempering Room features a collection of contemporary designs from all over the world, with a focus on materiality and form. It wants to provide a look onto less connventional design and allow its users to stay on track with the world of Design. Bigger Items are displayed on the white stands on the floors, while the main feature of this room, is its shelves that recall the sphapes of the alcoves in the Mine.
Tempering metal is a process in which the metal is exposed to high temperatures and creates a coloured patina. Steel presents a spectrum of colours ranging from darkened gray to blue, puprle, pinks and yellow. The process itself strenghtens the material, while also providing room for creativity and decor.
The spill of steel is here showing the full spectrum of its tempering and panels of the tempered steel, are placed around the original brick piers.
The shelves, made of mirror-polished , chrome metal mesh, reflect the colours as they were getting tempered too.
End of the Journey
The journey ends with entering the Little Bright Room. This is a small library that wants to offer additional information on
design, art or the city heritage. It also offer a view on the Old basin and it’s open to anyone who wants to relax and maybe, get creative and
work on their laptops. The room has three wide windows which ensures plenty of light during the day. At dawn, the spherical lamps will provide a soft glow, which will be enough for reading purpose, but that will allow a relaxing atmosphere.
The Old Cafe
At last, the Old Cafe, with annex Gift shop, is situated in the west range. It can be accessed directly from the outside, making it a very convenient stop for passers-by.
The materiality recalls the welcoming intent of the Lobby, with the glazed roof, pastel metals and the presence of plants.
As this building was abandoned for years, nature took over and trees started growing inside it. This room wants to maintain the presence of nature and juxtapose the presence of nature in a man-made, industrial context.
The plants, are situated on a platform, on top of the accessible toilets.
The gift shop is adjacent to the coffee shop, to let customer browse while awaiting on their orders.
It will sell, glasgow based creators merchandise.
The Cafe offers variety of seatings, and a cozy corner, with comfy seating and a small bookshelf.