Steve Threlfall our Design Director, has just returned from an exciting residency at Medialab Prado in Madrid. His proposal was selected from proposals by 50 idea makers selected in turn by the European Culture Foundation from more than 500 proposals from 50 countries.

For the project ‘Contrachapado con Alma’ (Plywood with Soul), Steve worked with 2 cohorts of citizens:

i)EVA, a self-managed neighbourhood space and

ii) with a group of ‘newcomers’ – young people new to the city of Madrid

and invited them to imagine objects and furniture that expressed their needs and culture whilst contributing to creating livable spaces and transforming bare accommodation into a home.


The process with each group centred upon digital manufacture (by CNC router) and how this could be used to offer co-design and production of objects with meaning from just a single sheet of 18mm plywood.

With the ‘newcomers’ the outcomes included a table for dining, socialising and working, hanging space for clothes, shelving, a stool that doubles up as a bedside table and small bowls to keep change, keys and jewellery safely located.

The dialogue and co-design with EVA neighbourhood space, drew upon a future vision for their community library, a place where: ‘ don’t choose the book, the book chooses you..’

In partnership with Todo por la praxis in Madrid, and as part of our Urban Workbench programme here in Liverpool, Steve will be continuing to develop this process with citizens in both Liverpool and Madrid



Steve Threlfall is a designer and social activist, co-founder of We Make Places and Friends of the Flyover, a citizen-led proposal to take public space. In addition Steve leads his small design studio: Different studio, which keeps end-user participation at it’s  heart.

Plywood with Soul
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