“The Palm” is EC3’s proposal for the annual Ante-Pavilion international design competition in London, United Kingdom. For 2018, the competition brief calls for the refurbishment of a decommissioned barge at the industrial neighborhood of Hoxton Dock in Northern London. To explore the ephemeral nature of the program, EC3 has adopted a design approach based on an architectural narrative in the form of a children’s tale.
Hello, I am Ouse the barge.
I was born at Hoxton Dock in London many years ago, when the warehouses here were used to store coal. As I was growing up, I used to transport coal up and down the Regent’s Canal. Now, London has become a global arts center, the warehouses at Hoxton Dock have been transformed into artists’ studios. So I have been idle, anchored at the canal.
This summer, a team of designers from California gives me a makeover. They paint me a new bright color, so I would stand out against the dark backdrop of Hoxton Dock. And they cover me with a new rubber coat, to keep my back (deck) from getting wet from the water of the canal and the rain.
But the best part is this clever gismo they put on my bow. When it is erect, it looks like an open glove, or a palm tree. But it can also be collapsed flat so that I can go under the bridges of Hoxton Dock to visit other parts of the Canal.
I can’t believe that this can be achieved so effortlessly by an old-school mechanical crank they install in my hull, and a giant inflatable glove they attach to the top of a new clunky mask!
I love my new look inspired by the sunny California touches, and my new nickname “The Palm”! My new look has made me very popular with the artists at Hoxton Dock. During the summer, they hang out on top of my soft rubber coat and under the giant inflatable Palm, for a good time or to get away.
On some weekends, they would take me out on a day trip. I become a pop-up for the Hoxton Dock brand to the other communities along Regent’s Canal.
At the market, I turn into a floating gallery to showcase the creativity of the Hoxton artists.
When we go under the bridges with the Palm down, I light up with video projections to turn the dark passages into animated experiences.
Ooh, have I mentioned that they keep these colorful balls in my hull under the rubber coat that can be rolled open the rubber coat to reveal a play pit for children? I love posing for selfies with the girls and boys!
But my absolute favorite is my new gig as a wedding chapel at Hoxton Dock. I feel so special to witness so many happy couples exchange their kisses and live happily ever after under the iconic silhouette of the Palm …