Camp & Furnace rises from A Foundation ashes

A collective of businesses in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool have reopened the former A Foundation trio of buildings as an event space and bar – with an indoor caravan park to come.

Camp & Furnace was devised by architect Miles Falkingham of Union North, along with A Foundation backer James Moores, Simon Rhodes of design agency Smiling Wolf, Tim Speed and Paul Speed of Elevator Studios.

Camp and FurnaceThe launch on Saturday 5 May is billed as 'a confident return to the rural…an antidote to the super-slick and a celebration of simple things.'

Miles Falkingham, director of Camp & Furnace, said: "We'd all enjoyed a decade or so of going to festivals and wondered what it would look like, if we took all of the best bits and brought them together under one roof.

"It was massively important to us to retain that outdoor aesthetic, we wanted to keep that feeling of being in a field with your friends, but in a city center location."

Part-bar, part-eatery, part-event space, the Greenland Street destination has been developed to accommodate a variety of uses from large scale conferences to club-nights, photography shoots and pop-up restaurants.

At the heart of the development is the Lobby Bar and eatery. In neutral shades, punctuated by a punchy green, it's designed with naked wood, bare bulbs and an oversized wood-burning stove, which work together to nurture a feeling of cabin culture.

Open for breakfast from 8am until late, the bar menu includes an own-brew artisan ale Brown Bear, developed in conjunction with Liverpool Craft Brewery. The ale productions starts on site in the Furnace, the venue's 9,000 sq ft events space, where malted wheat is smoked over birch chips before being sweetened with organic Wirral honey.

The Lobby Bar also serves as a reception to CAMP. Currently in development, it will launch later in the year as the UK's first indoor caravan park hotel.

The launch material says the park will contain a 'collection of characterful vintage European and British caravans, CAMP will be an immersive experience for guests – boutique hotel meets urban campsite – in a life-size woodland setting. Ideal for weddings and special celebrations, CAMP can be hired in its entirety, becoming function space and hotel – all in one.'

With such a strong focus on its creative identity, it makes sense that Camp & Furnace is also the perfect place to take pictures.

There are two tailor-made photography studios for TV and film. The Blade Factory at Camp and Furnace is the venue's late night offer, 'a Warholian warren of white rooms host underground club-nights, performances, avant-garde cabaret and live gigs.'

The Camp & Furnace team is currently working on a diverse programme of 'own-brand' events. Two to look out for in June are Never Mind The Jubilee Picnic, the venue's own irreverent celebration of the Queen's 60 years on the throne, plus the Camp & Furnace Fan Park, where The Furnace will be transformed into a family friendly indoor park for the month-long Euro 2012 football championships complete with giant TV screen, street food, and live music.

Falkingham concluded: "Built from the bottom-up, we've always seen Camp & Furnace as a genuine alternative to the ostentatious and opulent, it's the antithesis of the elitism that's so prevalent these days.

"We prefer to champion the local and authentic, Camp & Furnace flies the flag for simplicity and quality – we've made a village-like environment and we hope that people will respond positively."

History of the A Foundation from Camp & Furnace website

The A Foundation was established in 1998 to support the development, production and exhibition of contemporary visual art and, in particular, to focus on the enrichment and regeneration of Liverpool through culture and the arts. The Foundation was the vehicle through which James Moores established the Liverpool Biennial, the first and now the largest visual arts festival in the UK. The Biennial played no small part in Liverpool being awarded European Capital of Culture 2008.

In 2006 A Foundation consolidated and extended its operations by launching Greenland Street, an arts venue located in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool. Three former industrial buildings: The Coach Shed, The Furnace and The Blade Factory, together offered 25,000 sq ft of exhibition space and an annual programme of major new works by artists supported by significant levels of practical, administrative and curatorial support to realise ambitious and risk-taking new works.

Camp and Furnace is born from the sad closure of the A Foundation.

A Foundation has made a lasting and important contribution to raising the profile of Liverpool as a cultural and creative destination,hosting major arts and cultural events.

Reductions in public funding in 2009 and 2010 made the A Foundation operating model unsustainable. A Foundation's Liverpool galleries at Greenland Street and its embassy Rochelle, in London, were forced to close in January 2011.

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With so much public money having been invested into Liverpool’s infrastructure over the years its interesting to see how despite the funding cuts, its legacy is helping to nurture the creative sector, and continuing to reap dividends for the city. Well done to all involved.

By Strong foundations

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