IOU have appointed GAGARIN Studio as the lead designers for their forthcoming development at Dean Clough Mills.
The scheme will create three new permanent gallery and exhibition spaces within Dean Clough which will house the IOU archive and a changing exhibition programme, as well as a large scale workshop for the company to make their productions. The new gallery spaces will be housed within Victoria Mill at the north end of the Dean Clough complex. Halifax based company GAGARIN Studio specialises in contemporary conversion and re-animation of existing and listed buildings, with recent projects including Orangebox Young People’s Centre adjacent to Piece Hall. Talking about the IOU project founding partner Gayle Appleyard said “We love being part of a network of regional creatives with big ambitions; collaborating with IOU is an excellent fit. The potential of the project has fuelled our imagination and we aim to provide dynamic and architecturally enticing spaces in which to create and view the work of IOU.”
The new space due to open to the public in Autumn 2015 will offer a changing programme of new exhibitions including the IOU archive, which contains a wealth of intriguing props, costumes and mechanical objects from IOU shows over the last 38 years. A learning programme is being developed which will provide activities for young people and families and IOU will continue to provide facilities and advice to artists and companies with its emerging Art School. IOU’s Artistic Director David Wheeler said, ”We chose GAGARIN because they are a company based in the area with a reputation for creating inventive, practical and exciting public spaces using the distinctive local mill architecture. GAGARIN will produce a design that will bring together all the different aspects of IOU’s work, making best use of the historic building that has kindly been made available to us by Dean Clough. We look forward to occupying a stimulating building where people can come and view and interact with IOU’s work; and where artists and makers can share and develop their skills along side IOU’s development of new productions.” The plan has been made possible with capital funding from the Arts Council of England and the continued support of sponsor Dean Clough Mills, who are a critical investor of IOU’s future plans. Dean Clough is nationally renowned for its commitment to the arts. Having supported a gallery programme since the mid 1980's and providing rent-free accommodation for some 20 artists and major theatre companies such as Northern Broadsides and IOU.
Work has now started on final designs and drawings which will be available to view on the IOU website soon.