In August 2015 Metal supported Turner Prize winning architects Assemble to develop the Granby Workshop project, a new social enterprise in partnership with Granby Four Street Community Land Trust. During their three-month residency Assemble trained residents of the local area to become ceramicists, creating furnishing for the houses that were bought by the community land trust. The workshop was set up by Assemble to reflect and support the type of hands-on activity that had brought about immense change in that area.
The Granby Workshop’s first series of products was a set of ‘original features’ for the empty houses to replace those that had been lost through decades of damaging neglect, including fireplaces cast using brick and rubble from the houses, ceramic door handles smoke-fired in sawdust filled bins, and tiles decorated with colourful hand cut decals. They were presented by Assemble as part of their Turner Prize winning show at Tramway in Glasgow in 2015. These products and furnishings have now been fitted in the Cairns St houses. Each product was made using simple experimental processes that embrace chance, improvisation and accident, with its design evolving at the hands of its maker. These initial products were only a starting point and the Granby Workshop has been engaging a large number of local people in a program of regular workshops, which provide the opportunity to share skills and knowledge.
Through Metal’s support and guidance 22 local people were trained to professional levels and employed in the making of a series of handmade products, with all income generated feeding back into the project and into the CLT. Granby Four Streets’ renaissance has since continued with added interest in their work internationally and the establishment of the Granby Winter Garden.