A new design-led store has arrived on Church Street and it’s running after school clubs for young people from local state schools.
Store Store, which operates as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, works with schools throughout London, universities and with leading designers, artists and architects to run design workshops for young people aged 15 and over.
The products they design are sold in store, with profits funding future workshops and 20% of the royalties go to the young designers. They’re at the cutting edge of design technology; using everything from virtual reality to water-jet cutting to explore sustainable practices to create stunning products.
Kevin Green, who co-founded STORE STORE with Stine Kiniecke and James Shaw more than three years ago, said: “Some of the young people we teach go on to study at university, others go into apprenticeships or careers. For lots of students it’s about building confidence and making friends and in many ways that’s as important, if not more important than anything else.
“They learn a massive range of design skills which can be used in careers in architecture, digital animation, gaming, fashion and textiles. For some students it’s an opportunity to find out what they are interested in.”
Through a series of free after school clubs and summer schools, STORE STORE reaches around 200 students per year. They work with materials like glass, cob, ceramics, clay, wax and more.
STORE STORE is a project by STORE, an association of artists, architects and designers set up 10 years ago.
The organisation started out as a network of young designers based in an old Maplins warehouse off Store Street. Kevin explained: “We all graduated around 2008, there were lots of empty spaces in central London and we were lucky enough to use some of them to put on talks, residencies and small exhibitions. We managed to get some Arts Council funding for larger exhibitions and won a few design competitions in the first couple of years.
“I and lots of my colleagues had an interest in education – we were very aware that the architecture profession in particular was not representative of the diversity of this city. We began running free summer schools as a way to engage with that and see the after-school club program as part of that effort.”
STORE STORE also has a shop and workshop space in Kings Cross and Rotterdam.
Workshops are also on offer for the general public teaching a range of skills including mending, weaving, leathercraft, quilting and embroidery – these take place monthly and people can sign up to these via: storeprojects.org.