Exeter Phoenix Design & Build Commission

Published May 11, 2018

This summer it’s all change at Exeter Phoenix!

Throughout the summer months, we’re making some big improvements to our beautiful building. Major refurbishments being made to the venue’s foyer, galleries, auditorium seating and toilets.

We’re looking for input from the creative community to help make these changes a reality. A Design Commission is being offered for the creation of a striking, robust and practical design feature to welcome visitors into the building. The new box office and reception feature will reflect our character as a contemporary and creative arts venue.

The wider project has been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England and The Foyle Foundation. The refurbishment project will see an expansion of the main gallery spaces, the installation of a glass vestibule to the front of the building, and improvements to the visitor facilities.


Many thanks for your expression of interest in our reception desk design/build commission opportunity. 


As part of our programme of refurbishment of the ground floor front rooms this summer we will be upgrading and expanding the gallery spaces and relocating our Box Office/reception facility from its current position into the front lobby.


  • Proposal – please submit your proposal by 9am on Monday, May 21st. Shortlisting, further discussion and selection will take place by the end of May.
  • Installation – in July/August on dates to be agreed.


The budget for designing, building and installing the work is £4,000 including any VAT.


We are looking to create a striking, robust and practical design feature to welcome visitors to our building. It should be a contemporary piece of design to reflect our character as a contemporary arts venue.

Some examples of similar installations elsewhere that we like are included below. We are looking for a track record of delivering relevant projects and an eye for detail.


The desk will be sited just on the right as you come in the front door (see below). Design features of the rest of the space include:

  • Walls – to be stripped to reveal the bricks beneath
  • Floor – deep mahogany-varnished wooden floor to stay
  • Glass Vestibule – to be installed to enable us to keep the external doors fixed open
  • Glass Door – to be installed leading to the expanded galleries to the left
  • Digital Screens – to be installed for information purposes


The desk should have the following capability:

  • Building regulation compliance – with current part M building regulations including certain design features such as a lower accessible section for wheelchair users
  • Staff – room to allow sufficient space for two staff to sit and work behind
  • Space below/behind – allowance for equipment, including two computer towers and two sets of drawers.
  • Additional wiring – allowance should also be made for our contractors to be able to install cabling
  • Computer screens – allowance for the installation of two box office computer screens on adjustable arms.


The desk will be approximately 4.5m long and 1.8m deep with two levels. It will be roughly L-shaped but could be at an off-set angle to improve flow through the space.


An element of flexibility will be required to match the design to the surrounding space, co-ordinating closely with the project manager, contractors and Box Office staff. It can be fixed to the floor and/or the walls at either end.


In submitting a proposal we require the following:

  • Visualisation – a drawing or computer image of the concept
  • Details – of the materials to be used, the structural integrity of the piece and the quality of the finish
  • Previous work – examples of previous relevant work, either via weblinks or images

Please submit your proposal to art@exeterphoenix.org.uk