Eldon’s new cafe ‘Blank Canvas’ is now open

After many months of creating a new eating area in Eldon South Wing, ‘Blank Canvas’ is now open for business.

In 2013 the Project Office were asked by Head of Catering at the University of Portsmouth, Nick Leach, to hold a Design Workshop or Charrette event for the creation of a new Café space in Eldon South Wing. Of the need for it to be created Nick said “it had been identified that the new coffee shop on the ground floor would be too small for the number of students and staff in the building. Some of the reason is due to the loss of an outdated “canteen” area in the East wing of the old building. It was agreed to design and build a new coffee shop on the top floor.”

Twelve BA3 Interior Design students were invited to take part in the six day event, held in Summer 2013.  During the intense Design Week the students were taken on a ‘precedents study trip’ to Brighton to experience the Bohemian Café culture there – for many of them this provided inspiration for the proposals they produced.

Throughout the rest of the week students worked in teams of three or four to produce a set of high quality drawings, 3D visuals, materials palette, and models, for a professional proposal presentation to the client and client body on the final day of the event.  Following the presentation, the client, Nick Leach, chose a winning design ‘Blank Canvas’ by Lisa Jensen, Sofie Gustaffson, Hanna Paterson and Emily Davies.

The winning design was then progressed by the client and the University Estates team with consultancy from the students and Project Office.  This project gave the students involved a real taste of what a client expects from a design professional, and now that the Café has been created, the sense of achievement of their first finished project. Each of the students have since gone on to work in design practices in the UK and Europe.

“Working with a real client has been a really beneficial opportunity that is rarely experienced during a University degree. Having to satisfy the client’s wants and needs is a new experience for me and I think it has huge value on my learning experience. It made me consider the project in a different way from which I’m used to.” said Emily Davies.

‘Blank Canvas’ is located on the second floor of the Long Long Corridor, providing hot drinks, cold refreshments and a variety of sandwiches and snacks. The opening times are 10am-2pm Monday to Friday.

With plenty of space and seating, this is a great area to chill out and socialise, but with plenty of PCs and Macs you can carry on working after you’ve had a break.

There will be a formal opening on 29 January 2015 (by invite only), email Nick Leach (nick.leach@port.ac.uk) if you wish to attend.



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