Sunday saw the doors of the Round Tower open up to the public as part of an event sharing the final plan, designs and branding for Hotwalls Studios, the new name for the creative quarter in Old Portsmouth. We’ve featured this project on numerous occasions in recent years (was called the ARTches Project previously) and it was great to see this project on Sunday transition from careful planning in to action. Back in 2011 Strong Island held the first exhibition in the Round Tower which was part of the first look by Portsmouth City Council at the space finally being opened up to the public and for more creative use of the area in general. The arches in the Hotwalls have been home to Sunday art sales going back to the late 50s too so the area has a long creative and cultural story to tell as this new chapter at this historic monument begins.
Hotwalls Studios was officially announced yesterday with the clean new branding for the 13 new studios plus cafe and brasserie. As well as the logo and branding on display there were also the architectural plans, from the technical footprint of the building and its use all the way through to the furniture, doors, signs, fixtures and fittings…giving a real sense of how the space will look in summer 2016 when it opens.
Outside the Round Tower on Sunday you also had Pompey Pluckers performing as well as the Southsea Night Markets selling their creative items, painter John R Pearson with his diverse artwork on show, screen-printer and artist Spencer with his Petting Zoo prints plus refreshments provided by the Square Tower. Also getting involved was local painter and sketcher Chris Webb with other sketchers drawing and painting the Hotwalls, with artists from Bournemouth and Fareham getting involved. All in all it was a great start to this new phase in this long awaited project.
The Hotwalls Studios will be home to a community of creatives using the 13 studio spaces homed in the arches, akin to studio spaces and creative organisations like the new Ocean Studios in Plymouth and Leigh Park’s Making Space. These old battery arches will be completely re-invigorated with new glass walls giving lots of natural light and opening these work spaces up to the public to allow them to discover the art, design & making taking place inside. Applications of interest to have a studio are still being accepted but there has already been incredible interest shown, indicating a very real desire for these new homes to new and small businesses in the creative sector in the city. It will also be encouraged that these studios are very much ‘open door’ with the tenants not just welcoming the 1000s of people who pass through this area but also selling their craft and artwork.
The brasserie and cafe will also draw people in to this creative quarter, with over 40 covers plus the incredible terrace overlooking the Solent and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour from the Round Tower. Expect this to be a huge draw for visitors and locals alike.
Work begins from next month with the hoardings going up around the site, with the expected completion date to be early summer in 2016. You can now keep up to date with developments via the new Hotwalls Studios social media (@HotwallsStudios on Twitter and Instagram) with a website coming soon. You can also sign up for updates on developments and to show interest on taking on a studio or the brasserie/cafe HERE.
You can seem more photos from Sunday’s event below.