This autumn we worked alongside users of a new ‘Hub’ space in Hull City centre to co-create and inform a new, more containing, and loving space for it. We love mountains. They can be both calming and a reminder when we feel small, of the beauty in the power of nature and the universalising context that surrounds us all, and makes us equal. Seeing them can make us feel connected and inspired, but we don’t have that kind of landscape anywhere around here, where it’s so flat. We can’t see much past the buildings in our landscape – so the beauty of nature can feel very out of reach when you can’t get out of the city.
We chose a mountain range which looks like something you might see in the UK. It felt important to emulate what might be just enough within-reach of experience in the lifetime of someone currently facing poverty and homelessness. It also felt important for the collective Hull in general – which often feels cut off and forgotten, to feel connected to other parts of the UK, with their other landscapes and experiences to offer.
Using only 5 soothing colours and a simple design we hoped it would not overwhelm or overstimulate or compete with all of the other visual information the Hub has to offer.
Mountains can make us feel surrounded, but maybe they also offer an invitation to retreat and climb up higher in order to get a broader perspective on our lives.
We have found that homelessness can bring a unique experience of and relationship to nature and the outdoors, including the extremes that most people won’t be aware of. Even when it is harsh or extreme, nature is reliably non-judgmental and can even feel like a safer place than within walls, for those who haven’t found safety indoors.
We hoped that an image like this might provoke some sense of validation of this experience reflecting back, acknowledging the extremes, but also depicting hope and beauty in some form, too.
As and when we receive feedback from the people whom we hope to feel at home here, we’ll update to include them in this post.