The Bathing Beauties beach huts were created to help with the regeneration of a number of locations on the Lincolnshire coast following the appointment of artist Michael Trainor by the Economic Regeneration Department of the County Council in 2005.
Bathing Beauties - Art Meets Architecture on the Lincolnshire Coast
Bathing Beauties® began back in 2006 with an international art and architecture competition to ‘re-imagine the Beach Hut for the 21st Century’. The project captured worldwide attention and resulted in three, ongoing programmes:
- Huts on Parade: a series of bold huts on the superb Lincolnshire coastline.
- Touring Exhibition: 100 inspirational models by artists and architects from all over the world now touring galleries around the UK.
- Festival of Bathing Beauties®: the longest linear coastal art festival in Europe.
In 2005 the Economic Regeneration department at the County Council appointed artist Michael Trainor to help with the regeneration of a number of seaside towns and villages on the Lincolnshire coast.
Michael created the idea of the Bathing Beauties®. The project’s aim was to create series of dramatic and beautiful seaside structures on a superb but partly forgotten 10 mile stretch of Lincolnshire coastline from Mablethorpe to Chapel St. Leonards. The coastline features award-winning beaches, uninterrupted views of sand, sea, sky and over 500 beach huts. Some of the huts are used and well maintained, many are in disrepair or forgotten and there are a variety of architectural styles from several different decades.
A design competition was launched to ‘Re-imagine the Beach Hut for the 21st Century’ and it elicited one of the most exciting responses to any architectural competition this century. Over 240 designs, in the form of models, were received from over 15 countries including the UK, USA, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, India, China, Russia, Japan and Israel. The four winners of the original competitions were:
- Canadian ‘Atelier NU’ for ‘Halcyon Beach Hut’
- Feix&Merlin, from London, ‘Eyes Wide sHut’
- ‘i-am’ associates also from London ‘Jabba’
- ‘we made that’, London, with ‘A Hut for Gazing and Canoodling’
In addition Michael Trainor has designed a beach hut entitled ‘Come Up And See Me’. And Willett and Patteson, from Lewes, designed a ‘Camera Obscura’.
The success of the Bathing Beauties competition and the quality of the entries led to 100 of the models forming a touring exhibition, which is still touring the country four years later. Alongside the architectural models, the exhibition features a full-scale beach hut, ‘Oyster Pleasance’, designed by The Beach Hut Salon, (which included Architect Will Alsopp) which visitors could sit inside. In addition in September 2007 the UK’s First Annual Beach Hut Festival took place on the Lincolnshire coast - the ‘Festival of Bathing Beauties’ - and this festival still takes place.
Since the project has started it has received an amazing amount of local, national and international media coverage. There have been articles in all the UK’s major national newspapers plus many journals and magazines. The hut’s media coverage has included such diverse publications as Toni and Guy magazine, a Ukrainian men’s magazine and one of the huts featured in a 2012 series of George Clarke’s Amazing Places on Channel 4.