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Bathing Beauties

Who says a beach hut can't be sexy? Artist Michael Trainor believes they can be. A huge fan of seaside micro-architecture, he's looking to change perceptions of these little buildings. Beach huts, he says, 'occupy an enviable position of great natural beauty in the landscape where other building interventions are rarely permitted'. So… why are they often uninspiring? Check out Bathing Beauties, Trainor's exhibition of re-imagined beach huts which has just opened at The Hub in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK.

Bathing Beauties was dreamt up by Trainor to create a series of inspirational cabins for a forgotten 10-mile stretch of Lincolnshire coastline (from Mablethorpe to Anderby Creek, to be precise). A call for submissions was sent out in July 2006, and over 240 scale models were sent in from all over the world. One hundred of them will be on display at The Hub until 2 September.

Nine entries will be built along the coast during the summer and launched on 22 September (just in time for British winter… how lovely). They'll also be available for hire from East Lindsey District Council in 2008. Examples on show at the exhibition include: Jabba by i-am associates, London (pictured bottom left); Halcyon Hut by Atelier Nu, Montreal (bottom right); and a Hut for Gazing and Canoodling by we made that, London.

Owners of already-existing beach huts are also invited to enter their works of art in Beautiful Beach Hut, an annual competition encouraging them to take pride in their micro-architecture. Awards will be made at the first Festival of Bathing Beauties on 22 & 23 September.

Says Trainor, 'The beach hut is one of the few building forms which has been seriously overlooked by contemporary architects the world over. They are perceived as a treasured feature of our coastal landscape, as quintessentially British as fish and chips and the knotted hanky, but in reality are usually little more than a painted shed. The opportunity to re-imagine the beach hut is a very exciting prospect for artists, architects, designers, beach hut owners and holidaymakers alike.'

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