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Aidan Wilson, Interior Design BA (Hons)

20th June 2023

Football project idea could unite local communities

Aidan Wilson is keen to give something back to the community that has shaped the last few years of his life. A proud Northerner and fanatical Newcastle United supporter, he’s in the final year of an Interior Design degree at Northumbria University and, as part of his course, he’s been working on a project to educate and bring together people within the local community and beyond.

“United” is an idea for a Newcastle United immersive experience which takes users through the history of the club from the beginning to the present day and into the future. The aim is to engage audiences young and old, and to recreate that special matchday experience that so many thousands of fans enjoy each week at St James’ Park.

Caption: Aidan Wilson, final year Interior Design student

Aidan suggests a possible location for “United” could be The Biscuit Factory, which is based within the Ouseburn area on the outskirts of the city, just a ten-minute walk into the centre of Newcastle and to St James’ Park. The site has three floors and Aidan has a plan to use the space on each of these levels. The ground and first floor would consist of a walkthrough of the history of the club, while the lower ground floor would recreate that euphoric matchday experience with a bar and a football arena at the centre of the space.

Aidan said: “I want to ensure that this space is interactive, not just a dry recounting of the history of the club. One idea I’ve had is to create a QR code that visitors can scan to reveal videos of Newcastle matches, such as the 5-0 mauling of Manchester United in 1996 – probably the high point of Kevin Keegan’s reign in the 1990s. Visitors could also watch interviews with former players and managers about their time at Newcastle, and use touchscreen technology that enables them to kick a football around a pitch to recreate the atmosphere at St James’ Park.

“The idea is to create a euphoric experience generated by a stadium environment and the excitement alongside that, trying to recreate that experience within the space as if it were a matchday.

“As the name of the project suggests, I want to use the power and popularity of football to unite communities young and old, and give them a physical space where they can reminisce with friends and make connections with others whom they’ve never met before. We’ve seen how football has brought together people before – the men’s and women’s World Cups, for example. In the North East, people have a special passion for football here that can be harnessed to educate and inspire local communities. The educational aspect is really important; we can help people to learn how to use new technologies, for example.”

Caption: Interior Design student, Aidan Wilson's work showcased at REVEAL 2023

The next step for Aidan is to engage with Newcastle United to see if the club could help him trial and promote the scheme.

“It would be great if we could get this off the ground,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in how to use and create indoor spaces for maximum effect. I’m not currently in a job but I’d like a career in interior design.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northumbria University, where I’ve received excellent support from the tutors. I’ve had regular contact with them and they’ve always been on hand to offer advice and suggestions, particularly if I’ve been struggling to find the best way to take an idea forward.

“The graduate degree shows, known as REVEAL, will be useful in that it will promote “United” and raise awareness of the project to a wider audience. That will be so helpful to me.”

Seton Wakenshaw is Aidan’s final major project tutor on the Interior Design Programme at Northumbria School of Design. He said: “Aidan has a real passion for Newcastle United and the scope for the club to impact the region. It was logical for him to align this with his final major project and the results demonstrate a clear understanding of how commercial interior design can impact business both strategically and emotionally. His “United” project has the potential to inspire and educate in equal measure and showcases his ability to make the best use of local business and the built environment to create an immersive, interactive experience for people in local communities.”

Discover more here about the Interior Design BA (Hons) programme and other study options at Northumbria School of Design.
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