Table design commission – open call

Deadline: 17/09/2018  |  Published: 22/08/2018  |  City: Salford / Manchester  |  Region: Greater Manchester  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Frances Richens

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Calling artists, designers and makers based in Greater Manchester. Theatre company Quarantine are looking to commission a dining table that will play a central role in an exciting new artistic project.

Tenancy is a year-long, EU-funded project taking place in a house on the border of Manchester and Salford. Curated and produced by Quarantine, it is a direct response to the extraordinary growth and change that has gripped Manchester in recent years. 

A series of artists will take up residency in the house over the year; they will get to know their neighbours and make new work. A parallel programme of conversations and other events will take place in the house, weaving a thread of critical debate throughout the project.

A kitchen table is the heart of a home and this table will be a central gathering point for our project. It will be where neighbours meet over coffee; artists dream up new ideas; and people gather to imagine the future.

This commission is for design and delivery, so as well as a great idea you must also be able to realise it – either by yourself or by working with others. 

This commission is made possible with the support of Tom Bloxham and Urban Splash.

The brief

The table should be able to seat up to 16 people.

It will be used or a wide variety of things from eating and working, to conversations and making plans. It might be where we host dinners for artists or pore over blueprints with city officials. Flexibility is important, so ideally the table will be extendable or adaptable in some way.

The project is taking place in a new-build home in the Urban Splash development in Irwell Riverside, Salford. It should complement the contemporary design of the house, while being a bold and interesting centrepiece for the project.

Find out more about the Irwell Riverside development via Urban Splash.

The table will sit in the open-plan living space of the house on the ground floor. The space is approximately 2940mm wide x 6205mm long. The maximum dimensions for the table are: 1120mm wide x 4385mm long.

Total commission: £2,000-£3,000 (depending on materials) for design, realisation and delivery. Must cover design fees, materials and construction, and transport to the house.

Please note: this open call is restricted to those who live, study or work in Greater Manchester.

The winner of the commission will be invited to visit the house to see the space and assess access routes before finalising the design.


  • Deadline for submissions: 17 September, 12 noon
  • Successful commission announced: 28 September
  • Visit to house: Early October
  • Completion and installation of table: Early November

About the project – Tenancy

Responding to the extraordinary growth and change that has gripped Manchester in recent years, Tenancy is a 12-month artistic project running from autumn 2018. 

Twenty years ago, a few thousand people lived in and around Manchester city centre. Today this figure has risen to over 50,000.

Quick to meet demand, developers are creating new homes at an unprecedented rate. But as cranes and high-rise flats begin to tower over the city’s skyline, there’s been a visible rise in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets below.

Tenancy will explore what it’s like to live in a city negotiating rapid change and what is happening to neighbourliness amid this paradox of boom and crisis. It will examine how this bright new city is taking shape, and ask how we can best live together in the future.

Curated and produced by Quarantine, Tenancy will invite artists from the UK and further afield to take up residence in a brand-new property on the border of Manchester and Salford. Some may stay for a series of weekends, others for weeks at a time. Each artist will get to know the area and their neighbours, and make new work, leaving behind a trace of their time.

Across the year, a series of conversations and other events with neighbours and interested people will take place within the house, reflecting critically on the past and debating plans for the future.

Quarantine is a leading ensemble of artists and producers who make work that engages with everyday life in direct and radical ways. Founded in Manchester in 1998, the company has a long history of making work in the city: Its 7-hour quartet about the human lifecycle Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. premiered at Old Granada Studios in 2016; and Quarantine’s co-Artistic Director Richard Gregory directed What is the city but the people?, the extraordinary opening of Manchester International Festival in 2017.

Tenancy is part of Meet the Neighbours, a three-year cross-artform project inviting artists into rapidly evolving neighbourhoods in five cities across Europe and North Africa, co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme. Tenancy is supported by Slater Heelis, Ben Caldwell, Tom Bloxham, Urban Splash and Bloxham Charitable Trust.


Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Anyone who lives, studies or works in Greater Manchester.
When is the deadline?
17 September, 12 noon
When is the delivery date?
Early November
Are there payments to artists?
The total commission will be £2,000-£3,000 depending on materials. This is for design, realisation and delivery, so must cover design fees, materials and construction, and transport to the house.
Does the location have disabled access?
How do you decide on proposals?
The successful proposal will be chosen by Quarantine and Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash, who is supporting the commission.
What happens if my proposal is chosen?
You will be invited to visit the house in early October, to see the space and assess access routes before finalising your design. Completion of the build and installation of the table will take place in early November.

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