Axminster Tools & Machinery were eager to congratulate Assemble on the collective’s recent success in winning Britain’s leading contemporary art award, the Turner prize. Tools for the project were provided by Axminster.

The winner of the prize was announced on Channel 4 on 7 December, when the £25,000 prize was awarded to London-based architecture, art and design collective Assemble for their regeneration work in overhauling ten derelict houses known as the Granby Four Streets Project in the Toxteth area of Liverpool.

This year the exhibition displaying the winner’s work and that of the other three shortlisted artists is being held at the Tramway in Glasgow and is the first time the Turner Prize has been held in Scotland. Assemble recreated a workshop as part of the exhibition.

Assemble re-created scenes from Granby workshop for the exhibition
Assemble re-created scenes from Granby workshop for the exhibition

To give a little background information, the Granby Four Streets are a cluster of terraced houses that were built around 1900 to house artisan workers. Following the Toxteth riots in 1981, the council acquired many of the houses in the area for demolition and redevelopment. Hundreds of people were moved out the area and houses subsequently fell into disrepair. Local residents consistently fought plans against demolition and battled to save the houses. Over the past 10 years they have cleaned and planted their streets, painted the empty houses, organised a thriving monthly market, founded a Community Land Trust and shown their area in a different light.

Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust and Steinbeck Studios to present a sustainable and incremental vision for the area that builds on the hard work already done by local residents and translates it to the refurbishment of housing, public space and the provision of new work and enterprise opportunities. The approach is characterised by celebrating the value of the area’s architectural and cultural heritage, supporting public involvement and partnership working, offering local training and employment opportunities and nurturing the resourcefulness and DIY spirit that defines the four streets.

Those involved in the project have created mantelpieces using brick and rubble construction waste from the streets; ceramic door handles fired in barbecues fuelled by sawdust left over from building work; as well as hand-decorated tiles and hand-pressed terracotta lamps. These fixtures and fittings have been used to refurbish the ten derelict houses selected for the project.

Artist working with re-claimed marble for fireplaces
Artist working with re-claimed marble for fireplaces

Axminster’s Business Services Field Sales team member Donal Grogan said: “I would like to congratulate Assemble and Granby workshop on winning the Turner Prize. When I visited the project I was very impressed with the transformation that had taken place in the four streets and by the craft orientated way they achieved this. I am glad we were able to assist in a small way in setting up the Granby workshop which was used to make the unique crafted items to furnish the houses there.”

The exhibition will continue to be shown at the Tramway in Glasgow until 17 January 2016.

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