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Interior Design (MA)

Ani Ardehali

Ani is an interior designer based in London. To view more of her work, visit

Teaching Their Eyes To Swim

Water within the built environment is typically seen as an excess. Observations I made of its presence dripping and pooling within the Junction Box, a disused industrial site in Woolwich, demonstrate its ability to erode and take control, subverting the way we treat water within architecture. 

In response to a lack of suitable nurseries in Woolwich and the increase in need due to the Faraday Works redevelopment, my project proposes a water play nursery on the ground floor. The current nursery education structure was originally intended to bring up Victorian children to work in factories such as those on site. At a time where this approach is being revised, there is potential to use the nursery as a testbed for the more creative education style of the Finnish system which champions learning through play.

Adopting three design strategies that stem from the qualities of water – materiality, water play and scale – space becomes an implicit teaching tool for the Finnish curriculum. Water is also used throughout the project as a co-author, challenging my autonomy as the designer and allowing it to once again take control.

Outside of the nursery, front entrance.
8am. Arrive at Bowater Nursery.
Painting rubber ducks in the workshop of a nursery.
10am. Painting rubber ducks in the workshop.
Area of nursery with water play and rubber ducks.
12pm. Playing with painted rubber ducks in the water play area.
Giant hammock used as a place for the children to nap in.
2pm. Nap time.