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Interior Design (MA)

Lucy Nurnberg

In London in 2043, queer rights are in jeopardy. Since the 2020s, politicians in the UK and the US have played into the culture wars and rolled back LGBTQ+ rights under the guise of “protecting the children”. In the UK, the government introduced a new Section-28 style law that prohibits ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda to minors’, and has made it illegal for queer venues to be located within one mile of a school. In this regressive climate, queers need to stick together.

Enter the U-Haul Dyke Rescue Service, a practical crew who provide emergency aid to queers in need via a telephone hotline system. On the run from the law? Got a leaky sink than needs fixing? Looking for a lesbian party tonight? As the secret flyers say: Any time, any thing, give us a U-Call ☎️.

The U-Haul dykes provide their services from a fleet of repurposed electric vans, designed to meet any queer emergency. The largest in the fleet is the Getaway Van, which comes dispatched with five dyke-on-bike rescue operatives in the back. There's also the Pussy Wagon, a feline rescue shelter and meditative cat cafe, and smaller vans are available for handy repairs and house calls — from camping equipment loans to dyke drama mediation.

The newest addition is the secret mobile dyke bar: the last queer venue left in the city. To get around the punitive laws around queer space, the U-Haul crew have disguised their bar inside an ordinary-looking Luton van. Parked in a different quiet corner of the city each night, the mobile dyke bar can house up to fifteen guests within its walls. But on busier nights, it can go into super expanded mode: the side of the van flips down, the roof hatch opens up and a system of transforming modular furniture allows the bar to cater to an audience of hundreds.

A photograph of Lucy Nurnberg, wearing a U-Haul cap and a leather jacket

Lucy Nurnberg is a designer from London working across interiors, graphic design, art direction, exhibitions and storytelling. She sees design as a way to imagine the world differently, combining the political with the playful, and plans to build the queer spaces of the future.

After completing her BA in Illustration at the University of Brighton, Lucy had a career in writing and journalism. She was the co-founding editor of Accent magazine, an independent publication that was dedicated to “lives lived outside the ordinary” and celebrated non-conformists of all strokes. The magazine was stocked everywhere from MoMA PS1 to the Tate Modern Bookshop, and hosted events, workshops and residencies in venues including Somerset House, Tate Britain, the Hoxton Holborn and Shoreditch House.

Lucy came to study Interior Design at the Royal College of Art so that she could develop a spatial practice and apply her love of subversive critical design to the built environment. This year, she joined the Futures platform, a programme that employs speculative design and worldbuilding to imagine tomorrow's interiors.

A series of U-Haul Dyke Rescue Squad staff pictures, including getaway drivers, hotline operators, handy people and bar managers
A group photograph of dykes sitting on top of and around a white van, drinking beers
A photograph of a dyke sat on top of a white van and pouring beer into the mouth of a person below
A photograph of the U-Haul Dyke Rescue Service hotline operator in a reception booth, answering a pink telephone
Photograph of a dyke sitting behind the wheel of a white van, wearing gym gloves. The van seat is leopard print fabric
U-Haul headquarters: photographs of the car park underneath the Royal National Hotel where the service is parked
Section drawing of the getaway van, a Luton van dispatched with motorcycle rescue riders
Section drawing of van available for handy repairs: mechanics, plumbing, pest control etc
Section drawing of a small van available for house calls, specialising in dyke drama mediation
Section drawing of The Pussy Wagon, set in a Luton van - feline rescue shelter and cat cafe
A digital render of the bar in 'expanded' mode during the day, where one side of the van is flipped down
A composite of three black-and-white photos of the interior of the mobile dyke bar, with visitors buzzing their hair and kissing
Digital render of the back of a Luton van, filled with packing crates and a partially open door - revealing red light inside
Digital render of the van in expanded mode, looking at the toilet and entrance. Posters on the chipboard walls
Image of mobile dyke bar from the sofa at dusk, with a woman smoking in the foreground and a bartender drinking a beer
Detail render of the mobile dyke bar looking to the toilet, which is glowing red. On the wall is a green Lesbian Avengers poster
Poster for The Big Muscle Off, an arm wrestling tournament at the mobile dyke bar
One dyke lifting another up and laughing. In the background, a party in the van and a U-Haul bat light in the sky
Illustrated diagram of the van expanding - the side flipping down to create extra standing room with bar furniture

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Collected scrap materials including palette wood, rope, plastic packaging, tape and packing stickers
Red PVC butcher's curtain that has been UV printed with black-and-white photographs of dykes in the 90s
A PVC butcher's curtain for the entrance to the bar, with photographs by Phyllis Christopher UV printed onto the material
Material tests: ply with PVC bolted on and a chain and bungee cord handl
Material tests of ply with different hinges, handles and fastenings from PVC, chain, ratchet straps, leather and bungee cord
Black and white photograph of lesbians at Pride, with graphic stickers on top reading 'We recruit!' and 'Protect queer youth!'