Peek inside Assemble’s fashion school in New Orleans

A free facility for the city’s burgeoning talent

Turner Prize-winning art and architecture collective Assemble has established the Material Institute in New Orleans as an incubator for the city’s fashion talent.

Launched for the Tasmanian Institute of Old and New Art, The Material Institute opened with its pilot residency at the end of 2018, inviting budding local talents to use the free facilities. Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Demond Melancon heads up the staff, alongside fashion designers Faustine Steinmetz and Kenneth Ize, with a particular emphasis on teaching beading and costuming techniques.

Following Assemble’s ‘less is more’ approach to adaptive reuse, the fashion school takes over an existing light industrial building, which has been lightly converted for its new role. Theatrical walls, reflective surfaces and ‘punched through’ openings have been inserted into the structure, which is crossed by large steel structural beams.

Playful bursts of colour – tropical peaches and mint greens – break up rendered walls and concrete floor tiles, while large windows have been added to cinderblock walls – the edges of the panes visible. Furniture was also designed by the collective and was welded on site.

The Craft Council took an exclusive look inside the facility in this short video. Watch above.

Inside Assemble’s fashion school in New Orleans
Photography: Assemble
Inside Assemble’s fashion school in New Orleans
Photography: Kelly Colley
Inside Assemble’s fashion school in New Orleans
Photography: Assemble

A print feature on the school also appears in ‘Crafts (No. 278)’ – out now

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