‘Publicani’ is a room in The Garden of Privatised Delights, designed by multidisciplinary collective The Decorators.
Could the pub become a centre for civic action?
This room features all the familiar elements of a pub, or public house – a pillar of British culture. The bar, carpet, décor and even karaoke tell a hidden story of re-use and reinvention.
Since the 17th century, pubs have provided public indoor spaces for chance encounters and organised gatherings. Despite occupying such a cherished place in British culture, the pub has always been a highly contested and closely regulated space and is now facing rapid decline.
More than a quarter of the UK’s pubs have closed their doors since the turn of the millennium, with even more being forced to close over the past year due to the global pandemic and associated national and local lockdowns across the country.
Through ‘Publicani’, The Decorators ask if communities can imagine new models of ownership and use to reinstate the pub as a place of sanctuary and resistance, and in turn expand who this British institution is for.