Portfolio project
Broadsheet Trees

Thibaut Devulder

What do the people of Nottingham think about the built environment around them? How do they interact with it? What role do they have in the future development of the urban space in which they live? How do they imagine this future?

As part of Architecture Week 2007, we teamed up with people from Casciani Evans Wood to create an interactive exhibition — Broadsheet Trees — that would voice the opinions and aspirations of the Nottingham people about their city.

Situated in the neoclassical Arcade Exchange in the heart of Nottingham, just a few steps from the City Council, the exhibition took the form of a series of stylised ‘trees’ on which passer-bys were invited to express themselves using colour-coded leaves that they pinned up on the branches. As the exhibition went on, the trees grew into large colourful objects, creating an intriguing and engaging platform for public expression.

As the exhibition goes on, the trees grow into large colourful objects, creating an intriguing and engaging platform for public expression

With more than 500 entries in a single week, the exhibition was a great success. The Broadsheet magazine later added the voiced opinions to their website, inviting visitors to participate in a public debate about the future of Nottingham’s cityscape.

Designed to be easily manufactured on a tight budget and assembled with simple handtools, we have since helped on many occasions local grassroots organisations to use these trees as a friendly and fun way to engage their communities in public consultations and events.

This project was commissioned by Arts Council England, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architecture Centre Network.

The project was run on a very tight budget and timescale, so we made sure that all the elements of the installation could be made quickly by ourselves