Working on DIY SOS has made me remember just how much good, considered design can enhance lives, especially lives compromised by illness, bereavement, disability or social exclusion. But obviously when your life is turned upside down and booted about a bit, design is definitely at the bottom of your priorities.
As someone who loves design passionately, the opportunity to help improve someone’s life beyond recognition through design is an amazing privilege. Lives can be transformed primarily by considering the function of the space but also through creating a warm, safe environment – a bubble, protected from the outside world.
So when I saw Studio Ilse's stunning pro-bono designs for Refettorio Felix, a newly refurbished community kitchen, dining hall and drop-in centre from St Cuthberts community centre, it was truly heart-warming. The wonderfully welcoming, calm and homely environment fosters community spirit and enables vulnerable and often marginalised people to come together with dignity. Proof that #communityiskey and #designforgood can triumph in these crazy times.
What an amazing footprint to start with! The large decorative windows let in the most incredible amount of natural light. The restorative green colour palette combined with natural woods creates a comfortable and welcoming environment when combined with the retro furnishings. The immensely high ceiling is celebrated using paper pendants which serves to reduce its cavernous dimensions and make the space feel cosier.
Credit: Simon Owen Red Photographic