Strand Palace Hotel announces UAL Exhibition | News

Strand Palace, one of London’s leading hotels since 1909 has announced an exciting collaboration with Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL).

Students from the BA Costume for Theatre and Screen have created a spectacular collection of tutus, which have drawn direct inspiration from the hotel’s new art deco features.  The ‘NEW DECO TUTUS’ exhibition will be displayed in the hotel’s public spaces from the 24th of May for a six-week period and will be available for all guests and visitors to the Strand Palace to enjoy.

In total there will be nine breath-taking tutus accompanied by illustrations showcased throughout the ground floor, all with their own story from each student on how they used the hotel as inspiration for their work. Strand Palace is considered an art deco icon after its spectacular redesign in the 1920s. New art deco features – including a foyer so revered that it is now owned by the V&A museum – proved a hit with fashionable Londoners and made the hotel a firm fixture on the capital’s social scene.

The BA Costume for Theatre and Screen course at Wimbledon offers two very different pathways: Costume Design and Costume Interpretation. Students develop their skills at university and then progress into the Theatre and Film industries where they continue to build and grow their skill base around these two specialisms.

At the heart of what they do, collaboration is key. The students learn how to work with different departments and materials, build and share a specialist vocabulary and overcome the challenges that occur when being asked to research, illustrate, develop, and realise a design from 2D sketch to 3D fully wearable costume for performance.

A project such as this, where the students were able to use the stunning “new deco” interiors of the Strand Palace as a starting point for research and realisation, really allows them to challenge conventions of design and explore a wide range of interests and techniques. Within the display the processes used range from screen printing and hand beading to laser cutting, sculptural construction methods, knit and hand painted surface decoration.

The tutu as a traditional silhouette act as a perfect and rigid canvas for exploration of decoration and detail utilising design through 360 degrees. Combining traditional and well-established methods of construction with contemporary approaches to applying detail and surface decoration, this project represents the ethos of what the Costume Department at Wimbledon stands for – to use History to inform the Future.

Matthew Beard, Cluster Managing Director at Strand Palace said:

“Strand Palace is delighted to be opening its public spaces to some of the most talented students from UAL.  We are honored that our hotel’s iconic art deco features have served as the inspiration for this spectacular installation.

“With our location right in the heart of theatreland and the Royal Opera House, home to the Royal Ballet only a stone’s throw away, it seems very relevant that these stunning tutus find a temporary home at Strand Palace as part of this wonderful exhibition.”

Kevin Freeman, Course Director for the BA Costume for Theatre and Screen Course Leader said:

“We are delighted to be able to display the results of this collaboration within the Strand Palace. We are very proud that our students come from all over the world to study with us and it seems fitting that they are able to share their work with guests and visitors to the Strand Palace”.


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