Tim Denton + OEP UK

Manufacturies, 2022

Paired with OEP UK, based in Preston and specialists in the development of prefabricated building systems, Tim Denton’s starting point was inspired by Blackburn’s public realm. As part of the National Festival of Making 2019 programme, he delivered the Blueprints workshop, in which over 300 drawings of imagined architecture were created by children and adults, made from stencils that were traced directly from architectural features found in Blackburn.

The results were an eclectic mix of ‘blueprints’ that went on to inspire the next stage, a collaboration with mechanical and engineering students from Blackburn College to translate these designs into physical full-size models using large cardboard tubes and CNC cut plywood connectors.


Being informed by both participatory workshops, the artist and factory presented a unique installation intertwining heritage, contemporary design and industrial methods of making, forming the entrance to Festival Square at Cathedral Quarter. The work was fabricated by OEP UK from steel bathroom pod frames and the structural elements were later returned to the production line, going from art installation to becoming the formation of three new bathroom suites in a London apartment complex.

Alongside the structure, a collection of images is presented, documenting the design process that informed the final work.

“For me, the design process itself should be an open-ended thing; something that is truly surprising for all parties, including myself. I like taking each step, not knowing or controlling where the process is taking you. This project truly represents that way of working.”

Tim Denton

Tim Denton works from his design and build studio in Manchester, creating and constructing structural works both experimental and functional. His practice delivers bespoke furniture, temporary spaces and structures through intelligent construction presented with an effortless aesthetic. Clients are wide ranging and include Manchester International Festival, Noma and Stretford Food Hall to name a few. The range of outcomes extends from made to measure retail stands to live event spaces for communal gatherings and performance.

OEP UK design and manufacture bathrooms and utility cupboards fabricated off-site in a factory environment. The volumetric units are then delivered to new build construction projects for the residential sector. The modular pods are fully finished and fitted out to clients specification working alongside architects, developers and construction companies. Finishes in the production process include fabrication of the shell, joinery, tiling, and decoration, along with all associated plumbing and electrical installations.

Having seen the range of outcomes previously presented by Art in Manufacturing we were open to how the collaboration would develop. The most insightful interaction came from the juxtaposition of our process being the creation of hundreds or thousands of identical replicas, to the artistic process of creating a singular thing that is unique and not to be repeated.



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