Marvellous Mechanica



3-7 May / 11am-7pm

The Chapel at House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek Street, W1D 4NQ
(Access to the chapel on Manette Street W1D 4AW)

Drop in to watch and make from Tuesday to Thursday with the interactive exhibition open until Sat 7 May

In partnership with Plymouth University


Join us at London Craft Week as Hole & Corner hosts an imaginative makers’ space worthy of Heath Robinson in the chapel at dynamic not-for-profit members club The House of St Barnabas in Soho.

Over the course of the week, artists Martin Smith, Nik Ramage and Jim Bond will build a site-specific kinetic installation with a group of emerging Art, Design and Architecture designer-makers from Plymouth University. Visitors over the week can drop in to watch, talk and help build with the teams. Alongside the making, we’ll have a selection of classic automata from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre’s brilliant collection.

The event aims to celebrate movement and create wonder for adults and children alike. Taking devices including marble runs, Newton’s cradles, trebuchets, catapults, loop-the-loops and roller coasters as their starting point, the artists and students will design and build mechanical devices that move ping pong balls in an inventive and unexpected way across the chapel and into a beautifully crafted hopper. From there, the ping pong balls can be randomly divided and recycled back through the mechanical system to the original devices. These devices will be quirky, unusual objects that interest, delight or excite – and the entire process will place an emphasis on creative engineering, crafting and invention. 

About the Artists

Martin Smith is an artist and maker. His research and work are concerned with people's perception and interpretation of space. He undertakes architectural commissions that interact with their given space and the viewer through mechanical movement. 

Nik Ramage is an artist who makes machines that have drifted away from utility and objects that have forgotten their purpose. These sculptural machines forego utility in favour of futility, uncertainty and fragility; they embrace the absurd,the paradoxical and the comic.

Jim Bond is a kinetic sculptor. He has been creating interactive kinetic sculpture and sensory environments for the past 20 years creating work that activates when approached, stimulating a wide range of reactions and emotive responses.

The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT) was formed in 1979 by Sue Jackson as a small general crafts shop located in Falmouth, Cornwall. Working with local artists, CMT specialised in creating handmade automata that were sold to the general public. CMT moved its premises to London in 1984, where it soon established an international reputation for the quality and uniqueness of its product.

Led by Jackson’s daughter Sarah Alexander, CMT now focusses on designing and developing temporary and permanent automata exhibitions, including a new Mechanical Fairytales touring exhibition in development with The House of Fairytales.


About our Partners

AFFINITY WITH PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY, based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, deliver engagement and knowledge transfer between academia and the creative industries. As a national creative centre of excellence, they are one of the few universities with a commitment to combine and deliver both master craftsmanship and conceptual leadership.

In partnering with Hole & Corner, we are collaborating to deliver an on-going exchange of knowledge between us and championing a society built on an ideas and design driven culture. Making positive change for social good – economically, creatively and culturally.

The House of St Barnabas believe they are the first not-for-profit members club in the world run solely to support people affected by homelessness back into work. The club is a social enterprise and all money raised through membership fees, events and fundraising supports their Employment Academy, giving those they help the confidence, skills and support to gain lasting work.


Non-sign by Nik Ramage (on the home page) is currently on show at Paul Smith, Albermarle St, W1