The Dowse Family Lounge

Designers: Tim Wigmore, Rebecca Asquith Design Interns: Maud Timmermans

Date designed: 2016

Having worked at the Dowse as their exhibition designer in the past, I was chuffed when Rebecca and I along with the Designtree Team were asked to re-imagine a new space in The Dowse Museum for family activities and learning focused fun.  We worked closely with Dowse Learning Programs Manager Jen Boland who championed the project. Together we honed the brief, imagining a space based on the idea of a beehive; buzzing and engaging, but also warm, quiet and safe.  

With a tight budget, and also parameters around noise generation, removability of the installation, and how much we could alter the layout of the space, we opted for several interventions split over a 2 stage project.

For the first stage we designed and built some basic elements bringing together materials such as acoustic felt made from recycled plastic bottles, alongside natural birch plywood to create a warm natural feeling environment that was flexible, non permanent and engaging. Primarily we built some hexagonal light diffusers, 2 tables, an interactive felt wall, a quiet space tipi and an entrance way.

The second stage which will involve an interactive art/activity wall, seating elements and a library and reading wall has yet to be realised, and is still in fundraising mode. Stage one is holding up well and receives many positive comments from visitors of all ages.

Materials used:

Hexagonal Floor Tiles - Carpet made from recycled plastic bottles

Hexagonal Light Diffusers - Fabric made from recycled plastic bottles

Interactive Felt Wall Tree - Fabric made from recycled plastic bottles with removable plywood backing

Entrance - Fabric made from recycled plastic bottles with removable plywood backing

Woven Tipi - Various fabrics with a plywood structure

Table - Plywood

Pegs - Plywood


Two short Videos showing the making of the Tipi and the configuration of the Table: