An archival experience celebrating C.P. Company’s 50th anniversary
We were proud to join C.P. Company’s 50th anniversary Cinquanta celebrations to help them bring their rich archive to life – in both a physical and digital form. Working with five-decade’s worth of their hybrid urban sportswear, objects, sketches and editorials, we created an interactive spatial archive in a repurposed car park in Darwen, UK, as part of the 2021 British Textile Biennale, as well as a dynamic online archive. A hybrid of physical and digital space, the exhibition offers visitors an embodied experience of the often-hidden brand archive.
The retrospective’s location in Darwen paid homage to the C.P. Company’s special relationship with the British working class youth in the north of England who have contributed to its legacy. For 10 days, the car park transformed into a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s vision. Visitors could explore 65 different garments housed in archive racks, each presented with a scannable Garment Card that allowed them to continue their journey online into the digital archive and its wider ecosystem of related content.
At the epicentre of the exhibition, a series of 4 mobile interactive racks invited visitors to physically explore different chapters of the brand’s story, ‘scrolling’ through an atmospheric sequence of graphics, sketches, patterns and tactile transitions. Acting as an index to the rest of the exhibition, visitors could navigate through C.P. Company’s timeline, set in motion by the mobile archive racks. Encompassing the brand’s latest chapter – a collaboration with adidas Spezial designed by Darwen local Gary Aspden – the space also hosts a photo booth where visitors can have their portraits taken by photographer Neil Bedford, feeding back into the future of the archive.
The digital archive we created is a living entity; one that can be added to in years to come and accessed by anyone in the world. Preserving the brand’s process-based vision, visitors can journey through the archive as founder Massimo Osti himself might have used it. Each artefact is of equal importance, grouped together on the landing page yet navigable using a filter-system. Clicking on an object leads you on a deep-dive into its life-story, from pre-production research to how it’s worn on the streets today. Informed by the brand’s material processes, the website transitions reference the tactility of each artefact, inviting visitors to feel the garments as well as read about them.