Hut F, a collaborative of six students, won the inaugural Professional Development Award on the BA design course at Goldsmiths.
The course had just been condensed from four to three years and the aim of this award was to offer a second year student the chance to devise and deliver their own commercial project to count towards the professional experience component of their degree.
The six members of Hut F – Stephan Bishof, Alex Cotton, Robin Crowley, Joseph Harrington, Monica Hernandez and Sonal Patel – applied with the ambition of creating their own design studio. They wanted to establish a collective, multidisciplinary, studio with a democratic approach to design that encouraged creative debate.
Their plan was to make Hut F Design – based on the name of the building where the design course was housed – as professional as possible with real clients and briefs. Having won the award they approached thirty companies and received a positive response from many, choosing to work with two. Their first project was for Raw Nerve, a design consultancy based in Deptford which hosted a quarterly networking event called RSVP, with the intention of raising awareness of the wealth of creative talent in the Deptford area. They challenged Hut F with the opportunity of taking RSVP to the recently redeveloped Spitalfields Market as part of the London Design Festival with a travel themed exhibition. The exhibition was a great success and animated the new public space, fulfilling its brief to shine a light on the wealth of creative businesses in Deptford. However, as Sonal Patel remarked:
“This project taught me a lesson that will be with me for life; that friendship and business do now always make a good mix…[it] was really taxing on our relationships with each other, but in the end we pulled it off and it was a project we were all really proud of.”
In fact the exhibition was such a success that Hut F selected by the LDF as a feature event of the 2006 festival. They were also asked to extend and re-exhibit at the LDF head office.
The other projects Hut F delivered during that summer include a collaboration with MAS (Manufactures Advisory Service) and Copes & Timms, the UK’s largest window furnishing company. This project was part of a MAS pilot scheme to help UK companies within industry to develop their brand with a focus on more innovative design. Hut F developed a series of design concepts for Copes & Timmins, which were shown at an industry exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.
Hut F proved to be a fantastic experience for everyone involved, even if it did challenge many of their pre-conceptions of how best to run a design agency. It was a wonderful way to kick start this award.