The Margate Art tour is a conceptual piece of service design to link cultural hubs along the Kent coast.

Intended to strengthen the growing artistic trend, it is hoped to provide economic opportunity and regeneration.

The Margate Experience Project was a broad speculative piece, focusing on the design process as applied to a real world context.

Unit four of the course is the last unit in stage one and focuses on applying the design process to a real world context by asking us to consider the situation of Margate and how it, through design, could be improved.

The brief for this project was much more open than anything considered previously and offered a great scope for creativity, experimentation and consideration of wider socio-political factors.

margate image from beech
A symbol for modern Margate; the closed Dreamland centre overshadowed by an unmaterialised modernist vision, surrounded by scaffolding.

I was very excited for this project, not only was it the first structured project of my return to the course but it was a chance to act on the idea of using design to effect positive change in a real-life context, to break away from the established idea of physical, consumer-based product design.

In addition, I personally had a bit of a head start in that I had visited Margate before and given some amount of thought to the basic premise of this project.

margate in-person research
Day one of our group trip to Margate conducting research. Even Arlington can look good with strategic lens flares.

Research formed the backbone of this project to arguably a larger degree than some other past projects. This involved interviews, primary and secondary research, the creation of a ‘cultural map’ in groups, a three-day site visit and personal observations and anecdotes.

final presentation board
First Final Presentation Board
second final presentation board
Second Final Presentation Board

My design solution was a conceptual ferry service operating an ‘Art Tour’ around Margate, connecting visitors to key areas of cultural and artistic significance around the east coast.

The core of this idea is to place Margate at the centre of a broader artistic context and culture.

Margate has a rising art scene as personified by the greatly successful Turner Contemporary gallery but is somewhat stunted by its remote location and lack of other attractions. By offering figurative and literal links to other such locations, a coherent experience can be created centred around Margate with connections to London and Dover to entice tourists.

Reflecting back on the project I would have liked to delve deeper into specific aspects of the design like what the onboard commentary would have consisted of, more detail put into the design of the vessels and in general, added more user touch points to make the idea more unique.

In addition I think the project could have benefited from more primary research mid-way through but overall it was a greatly interesting brief to tackle.