Belen Palacios

Professional Development Award
Goldsmiths University
Ba Design


Upon receiving the Professional Development Award during her second year of the BA Design Course at Goldsmiths University, Belen Palacios, in partnership with London Design Festival, had an idea to take conversations on design to a different space. With support from the Artisa team and her fellow students and network, she funded, planned, designed and built Tree Hub. Hosting talks between 12 – 22 September 2013, Tree Hub fulfilled her ambitions and became a new and inventive space to tackle a varied number of current issues.

Designed by Werk Studio (a collaborative platform of Goldsmiths Design students), the structure housed talks with with a whole host of design practitioners sharing and debating different perspectives on Peckham, the location in which Tree Hub was installed. Hosts included James Bridle, Daniel Charny, Dominic Wilcox, Tuur van Balen, PAN studio and Judith Carr. The idea behind staging such interactions rooted from a desire to change the ways in which knowledge and opinions are exchanged.

“We thought it would be very interesting to get people together and see what happens when they interact in an egalitarian space, we’re all around the table. When we were coming up with topics for the conversations, we were asking the host to come up with the theme they wanted to explore.”

In Tree Hub’s relaxed and playful atmosphere, the project successfully bridged the gap between academia and professional practice. During each conversation, the featured designer joined by 10 other members of the public exchanged options , sketched ideas or simple chatted; breaking the the usual interaction of knowledge exchange found in auditoriums and engaging in conversations without commercial purpose.

“We often see renowned designers having conversations and an audience looking at them, whereas a wider interaction with the audience would make the conversation more interesting.”

Tree Hub was made possible through Belen Palacios and her team’s hard work, with funding from Artisa, and With the expertise of the staff at Goldsmiths University. TRADA and Grown in Britain have partnered with TREE|HUB to produce a sustainable structure with locally sourced timber. The wood has been sponsored by English Woodlands Timber and Norbord. The reclaimed timber and acrylic was provided by The Building Centre, Economic Skips and Gregory Signs.