Part of the Lincolnshire County renovation scheme to upgrade sixteen kilometres of east coast between Mablethorp and Chapel St. Leonards involved an international ideas competition last year on the theme of redesigning the bathing resort facilities. “Bathing Beauties” is the name that artist Michael Trainor gave the contest: designers were invited to give free rein to creativity, team up with artists, invent old bathing huts anew and transform the coast into a gallery of unusual micro-architecture. One of the four contest-winners was the youthful firm of Feix&Merlin with a project due to be completed by September 2007. “We became very interested in this competition because of its uniqueness, both in terms of the extremes of the atmospheric conditions, but also because of the positive influence that exciting new architecture could have on the coastal economy. We are fascinated by the role that design plays within the complexities of urban and rural regeneration. This issue is becoming more and more important as people become concerned with the carbon emissions of flight travel and interested in spending their holidays on these shores. There’s a desire to return to an idea of the traditional British seaside holiday, but with a fresh and novel approach.” Eyes Wide sHut - a visual pun on the Stanley Kubrick movie - could be described as a concept-intense, romantic operation aiming for a typically English blend of sophistication, comfort and privacy even in a largely public place like a beach. The hut has two façades, one onto the beach, the other onto the town behind it. Set in two large frames of laser-cut metal, these reflect a picture of the landscape while creating a situation of voyeuristic privacy within. The effect is achieved by two-way mirror glazing preventing anyone seeing in but perfectly transparent from inside. The interior thus becomes a cosy private shelter from the wind, the sand and the inquisitive. Another relaxing touch is given by a digital print of a life-size forest lining the hut walls, floor and ceiling, not to mention the chandelier that lights up in the evening to produce a magical, illusionary atmosphere. But there is more to this dense-packed design than even such subtle catering to spatial and emotional needs. The allotted forecourt beside the hut has been designed as a mini garden. The two frames slide sideways to disclose the hut interior but screen off the garden, making that into the private space. Eyes Wide sHut is the proof that the tiniest area can offer an extra dimension and become nothing less than micro-architecture.