Metropolitan Works, London.

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This is an exciting new space that cleverly blends contemporary creative energy with advanced technology in a fascinating building. Metropolitan Works launched its new £4.5 million building last night with the opening of ‘Digital Explorers: Discovery’, a fascinating (and free!) new collection of works by nine leading artists, all created using cutting edge digital manufacturing techniques.

The building on Commercial Road, commissioned by London Metropolitan University from Cartwright Pickard architects, is a brand new manufacturing and workspace centre for budding creatives. It not only provides workshop space – worth its weight in gold in central London – but also and uniquely it gives access to technology previously only available to industry, specifically ‘digitally-controlled manufacturing’; such as laser cutting, water-jet cutting and rapid prototyping. The design of the building itself cleverly reflects the capabilities of the technology within – the top half clad in metal perforated sheets with the machine hall wrapped in beautifully patterned bespoke laser cut panels. 

The exhibition, which runs until 12th March, features offerings from Antony GormleyTimorous Beasties and Tord Boontje, all produced using the technology now available in the facility. According to Gormley, by using CNC (‘computer numerically controlled’, in case you didn’t know) routing to manufacture his metal sculpture he significantly reduced the 3-week production time and also achieved a more accurate result. As a collection, the show is a real eye-opener in terms of the impact that these new technologies will have on the future of art and design. 

The stated aim of the Metropolitan Works enterprise is to bring creative talents and manufacturers together, to enable innovation, and further promote London as a global centre for design. This new facility proves that its not all talk – by providing workspace, training facilities and state-of-the-art technology previously unavailable to artists and designers – as well as enhancing the networking potential which is so vital in the design industry.

Text by Blueprint Magazine.

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