Grand Constructions was an arts project that invited children to explore the architectural and industrial heritage of the North East of England. The project was commissioned by Creative Darlington as part of their New in Town programme to support original creative projects informed by place and local heritage, and also supported by Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants.
Grand Constructions paper toy-making templates were designed by Cabinet of Curiosity Studio to help children get crafting and start building paper landmarks connected to the North East. All the paper templates were designed to be printed at home with the designs finished with playful colours to appeal to children. The series of four paper toy-making templates included Darlington Clock Tower, Gaunless Bridge, Baltic Flour Mills and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Printed templates were distributed through Darlington Library and made available in family workshops held at Darlington Arts Festival and Head of Steam Darlington Railway Museum. The paper toys were also promoted through Fun Palaces and Culture Bridge North East Compendium of primary school resources.
A pop-up exhibition of paper architectural models in Darlington Town Centre celebrating architectural landmarks of the North East marked the finale of the Grand Constructions project. The paper kirigami (cut and fold) models, designed and made by Cabinet of Curiosity Studio, used digital fabrication laser cut techniques and hand craft skills to assemble ten pop-up architectural constructions. The exhibition was installed in the windows of an vacant shop space in Queen Street Shopping Centre in Darlington Town Centre with one of the windows dedicated to exhibiting the Grand Construction paper toys in flat sheet and folded form. The visual identity included a white, cream, blue and gold colour palette, stencil-style typography and a large scale laser cut modular cardboard display unit and backdrop that drew inspiration from the Eames ‘House of Cards’ construction toy.