A new public space celebrating Portsmouth’s diversity and local culture is unveiled this week.

The ChatterBox Pavilion is a public art installation located at the end of Guildhall Walk that will be in place from Friday 27 September.

The installation offers a new public space celebrating diversity and local culture while promoting multicultural integration. Through the creation of an interactive and playful environment, it will encourage an active and ethnically inclusive use of the space.

University of Portsmouth Architecture students Helena Kranjc and Pepe Sánchez-Molero produced the original concept for the pavilion, which has been co-created by the community group Chat Over Chai (supported by Portsmouth City Council's Adult Social Care team) and students from the University’s Cultural and Creative Industries Faculty.

The installation consists of a series of timber frames in which are installed several spinning panels that can be pushed by users to reveal their two opposite faces. Users are engaged on the topic of migration through play, by images, artwork, illustrations, textual information and key relevant data. The artwork was produced through a series of community workshops held between August 2018 and June 2019.

The project is part of a long-term partnership between the University of Portsmouth’s School of Architecture and Portsmouth City Council led by Guido Robazza, Senior Lecturer in Architecture. The partnership’s aim is to improve the quality of public spaces in Portsmouth and to encourage people to increase their usage of it.

Guido said: “I hope the making of this project has offered those in the Chat Over Chai group a way to channel their own creative energy and given them an opportunity to speak out, decide, take action and craft an underused central area of this city, making it become a positive place for them and other local people.

“I look forward to seeing this space transformed from an odd piece of land to a charismatic small meaningful place that talks about the positive vibrant energies hidden in Portsmouth.”

Councillor Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing at Portsmouth City Council, said; "It's great to see so many groups come together to create such a useful and interesting piece of art, which transforms this unused space at the end of Guildhall Walk.

“We should be celebrating the diversity of residents in Portsmouth as it's one of the things which makes this city so fantastic. The Chatterbox Pavilion project should help people to do this and it's something that I'm proud of the council being involved in."

The ChatterBox project also collaborated with the Maker’s Guild and Journeys Festival International Portsmouth and was supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

One of the community participants said: “We are all excited to see the fruits of our joint imaginings and endeavour. Whatever the outcome and however the installation is used this has been an interesting, motivating and unifying project; the process and the eventual product being valuable for us all.”