The Rich Mix is an exciting new arts centre, which brings together a diversity of cultures and creative disciplines. It celebrates the contribution made by successive generations of immigrants to the economic and cultural life of London. To create a home for this innovative project, we extended and transformed a derelict factory building in East London.
The centre includes a three-screen cinema, performance and exhibition spaces, music studios, workspaces for creative businesses, a rooftop function room and a café; the café is the spatial and social centre of Rich Mix. The space is analogous to a small town square – highly visible and easily accessible directly from Bethnal Green Road. The cinema is housed in a distinctive extension to the rear of building, clad in sky-reflecting aluminium.
The building features a series of double height spaces, formed by cutting away parts of the floor slabs. One of these acts as the entrance square, the lively hub of the centre.
The interiors strategy is one of simplicity. Raw materials of concrete and timber create a neutral background allowing features such as neon lighting and decorative wallpaper to pop out. The cinemas are lined with silk panels designed in collaboration with artist Ali Zaidi to create unusually rich and unique spaces.
The facade of aluminium louvres in front of multicoloured vertical fins provides solar control and acts as a giant projection screen. The animated public face of the centre, it reflects the variety and dynamism of the activity within.