New Practice

The Agora


The Agora

The word, agora, translates to ‘gathering place’. In Ancient Greece, the agora was the heart of civic life – it was where people gathered to discuss and deliberate important matters, to trade, to connect.

TEDx Glasgow commissioned us to create a unique space within the SEC, one of the largest exhibition centres in the UK. Our design, The Agora, formed a series of spaces for gathering. In the gigantic space inside Hall 2 at the SEC, we wanted to create a sense of human scale, where people could feel at ease.

With a rapid turnaround needed we needed a clever, fast solution that would fit the brief – to create an inspiring space for lunch and informal networking – and more. We were determined that this should not be a ‘build and burn’ approach. We need a solution that was quick to install, modular and safe, that would have a life beyond the event.

We hit upon scaffolding. It’s incredibly quick to assemble and, since scaffold companies effectively act as material libraries, it is the perfect zero waste solution to create the scale and structure needed. Working with T M Scaffolding, a local firm, we sketched out and sense-checked our plans for The Agora.

As a further nod to the building process we began to work with debris net – the bright translucent material that covers buildings under construction – to create connections between different parts of the structure and to create nooks for people to claim as their own.
To bring added local flair to The Agora, we commissioned artists Emer Tumilty, Alice Dansey-Wright and Kate Owens. They each contributed vibrant patterns, which we then worked with the Centre for Advanced Textiles at Glasgow School of Art to digitally print out onto metres and metres of fabric. Draped across The Agora, these brought the steel structures to life.