David Emanuel Opens world class Cardiff School of Art and Design

​05/06/2015

​​​Miss ​Barbara Wilding, CBE, QPM, Chair, Board of Governors, David Emanuel,  Professor Gaynor Kavanagh, Dean of Cardiff School of Art & Design & Professor Antony J Chapman, Vice-Chancellor & Principal.

CARDIFF Met alumnus and celebrity fashion design David Emanuel has officially opened Cardiff School of Art & Design's new £14m state of the art building.

The new and refurbished accommodation for Cardiff School of Art & Design, which is a centre of excellence and high performance in both research and teaching; was designed by award winning architects Austin-Smith: Lord, who also designed the Riverfront Theatre, Newport, as well as the Cardiff School of Management.

Cardiff School of Art and Design (CSAD) was awarded a prestigious Regional RIBA Award at a reception event hosted by the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) last month and is now shortlisted for the national awards.

Mr Emanuel, who was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University in 2010, said: "This is a beautiful new building that signifies a very exciting time for fine art, design and making in Cardiff, Wales and beyond. The staff here at CSAD have always led the way in teaching and research.  This new creative space offers the perfect setting for CSAD and its hugely talented staff and students to thrive.

"The school has forged extremely strong links with industry and has foregrounded business and employability in the curriculum, which is beneficial as well as progressive.  It is great to be back here today. This is where my career began and I wish everyone involved with the new School the very best with future ventures."

CSAD celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and has been at the heart of the city since its opening in 1865. The School has had many homes, beginning life in a room above the Royal and Morgan Arcades.

It is the oldest part of Cardiff Metropolitan University and has been housed in the City's central library, The Friary building, near Cardiff's New Theatre, and most recently, in the purpose built City Centre Howard Gardens Campus. The new accommodation consolidates the School on one site at the University's Llandaff Campus.

Professor Gaynor Kavanagh, Dean of CSAD, has been involved in every stage of the new build, with regular consultation with her staff and students, and said: "The new facilities on the Llandaff campus achieved exactly what we worked towards; accommodation that is full of possibilities and generosity of spirit.

 "It was a challenge for all involved, as what we needed was full of apparent contradictions. We have creative processes that range from the industrial to the most contemporary of technologies. So, we can be mucky, but also need pristine cleanliness. We can be noisy, but need a peaceful atmosphere in which to work.  We create waste and fumes, but want to recycle as much as possible.  We like working as individuals, but draw on the passion of the collective that is the School.

"What we have now is a delight.  More than that, it is already loved by those who work and study here. CSAD very much offers a blueprint of what other art schools will be doing in time. Students love their time here, as we teach a very advanced curriculum and are breaking down the boundaries between traditional art disciplines."

This week, CSAD has been transformed into a multi-purpose gallery to showcase final year students' work at the annual Summer Show exhibition.

As well as supporting the physical progression of CSAD, the building indicates a renewed commitment to progression in research, teaching and innovation and houses teaching and research in the fields of Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Communication, Ceramics, Artist Designer: Maker, Textiles, Product Design and Architectural Studies, with purpose built studios and workshops, designed to promote creative practice and critical thinking.

Prof. Kavanagh added:  "The design fully recognizes that CSAD represents higher education at its most unconventional, intellectually demanding and creatively dynamic.  It allows for the fact that we are messy, noisy, technology-driven, talkative, hugely hard working, and resource-intensive: not to mention, inventive, pragmatic, constantly developing and generally maverick."

The new building also boasts Wales' first FabLab, which is shorthand for pre-fabrication laboratory, and is linked to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's global network of pre-fabrication facilities.