Oxford Brookes Architecture alumni raise £12,000 to build installation for Secret Garden Party Festival
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Oxford Brookes Architecture alumni raise £12,000 to build installation for Secret Garden Party Festival

Oxford Brookes University Architecture alumni Lionel Real de Azúa and Lucas Tizard have embarked on a challenging journey to create their first installation and Kickstarter project, titled ‘Lûz’. They have reached their goal of raising £12,000, enabling them to complete construction and exhibit the installation at the British festival, Secret Garden Party and the American festival, Burning Man this summer.

The team were invited to share their work at Secret Garden Party and Burning Man but the festivals were unable to fund the whole of the project. To raise the remaining money they took the courageous step of posting the project on the website Kickstarter. The rules to Kickstarter outline that a project must raise a set amount of money within a deadline and if this is not met all donations are returned to those who have given. They gave themselves a month to raise the astonishing amount of £12,000 and have succeeded by raising a total sum of £12,345.

Lûz, the Spanish word for light, is a six meter tall, three sided pyramid, built to celebrate light. Lionel said “The initial aim of the project was to create a simple, relatively lo-tech structure with an elegant ethereal exterior which could house a brightly coloured kaleidoscope creating a powerful, almost overwhelming interior experience”. Participants interact with the structure from the moment they enter it. Their reflection is incorporated into the patterns and then refracted within the mirrored space, making you part of the kaleidoscopic experience.

The team behind the project is called Les Méchants. They are a collaborative offshoot of Red Deer, the architectural practice Lionel and Lucas began a few months ago with partner Ciaran O’Brien. Les Méchants have also had help along the way from Henry Gibbon, an architecture student from Oxford Brookes, who is interning with the team during the project.

On achieving their target, Lionel commented “The Kickstarter funding was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. In the last few days, suddenly donations started coming from all around the world. It was very touching because we were getting praises from complete strangers. Meeting our goal was a huge achievement, and it certainly stimulated the team. But now the real work begins. The dream is now a reality and we just need to keep our heads down and stay as excited and focused as we were on that first day.”

While Burning Man and Secret Garden Party are the team’s immediate goals for Lûz, they also plan for the installation to be a nomadic structure that is able to travel between festivals, museums, squares and rooftops around the world. Lionel explained “the mere act of conceiving Lûz was a shared effort; it would be a shame if the experience wasn’t either.”

Lionel graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture at Oxford Brookes in 2011. When asked about his experience at Brookes Lionel simply said he “loved it”. He especially appreciated how year groups learn together and “share their skill sets and information”. He said his course helped him in many ways and summarized his time at Brookes as an “enriching” experience. Lionel often returns to Brookes to give tutorials and guest critiques.

To find out more about the project visit Kickstarter

More information about studying Architecture at Oxford Brookes University