GBSIoT are excited to reveal the final design for the feature wall that will span the entrance of our Hub when it opens in the centre of Birmingham later this year.
The arching artwork spanning the feature wall was developed collaboratively, involving Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology’s (GBSIoT) key staff, invested industry leaders and most importantly local learners and community members.
This participatory design approach invited consultees to share their thoughts, feelings and aspirations for the Institute, from their own unique perspectives. These personal ideas were given form throughout the various workshops as a series of visual metaphors, blending together the shared beliefs and values that everyone held for the GBSIoT.
A significant part of the design is the use of cloud forms to represent thought bubbles and the sharing and combining of ideas that go on to make technology, innovation and production possible. Very much a concept put forward by the learners, they wanted the people using the space to know that it is their imagination and collaboration that creates progress.
Partnership and collaboration was a consistent focus for understanding GBSIoT’s distinct identity. These tightly woven connections are visually represented by the morphing geometric lines that transform into photographic images of the West Midlands motorway network, on to wind power waveforms before coalescing as a digitally rendered chain linking previous industrial achievements on one side of the design to a figurative ‘metaverse’ on the other. The chain itself is an anchor back to the region’s past and the manufacture of chain and other industrial products, whilst also embodying the strength of the partnership at the heart of GBSIoT.
Playfully lit by jet propulsion, the 2012 Olympic torch also carries forward the idea of partnership, the torch’s development and production very much a team effort between multiple local businesses across the West Midlands. Illustrating modern ways of working, this world-renowned symbol also embodies the creative spark that the institute is nurturing and carrying forward.
Other themes that emerged included the important vision of GBSIoT as an enabling platform, connecting individuals, communities and disciplines in ways that inclusively expand opportunities and new ways of working. The linking bridges and opening doorways that were widely cited were distilled down to create the evocative arc, simultaneously a fast track overpass to the future and an expansive gateway to innovation.
Multifaceted in its construction, the design can also be read as a symbolic timeline, illustrating the Birmingham, and the West Midlands, strong and deep-rooted association with accelerating industry and technology. From Watt’s steam engine, one of the driving forces of the Industrial Revolution and the iconic Supermarine Spitfire, constructed at Castle Bromwich, to Rolls Royce jet engines and the latest bird proof spiralled jet fans that blend math and nature to form pioneering solutions.
Alongside schematic blueprints and technical drawings are illustrations detailing the dimensions of a gemstone in the round. Acknowledging Birmingham’s jewellery quarter, its expertise and technological mastery, the multifaceted diamond also represents the diversity of disciplines and individuals GBSIoT wants to crystallise and refine, as well as the level of academic excellence it is striving to craft.
GBSIoT can’t wait to open the Hub doors very soon and invite all those that contributed on this collaborative project to view the artwork that celebrates the successes of the West Midlands region in manufacturing and engineering, as well as the brilliant partnership between all the institutions that make up the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology.