Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 20 May 2024

Brighton Graduate's Time Portal Design Boosts Tourism On Sussex Town's Seafront

University of Brighton graduate Matt Reed is the artist behind a new technology bringing the rich history of the coastal town of Bognor Regis to life.

Beginning as an idea while studying a Master's degree in Architectural & Urban Design at the University of Brighton, Bognor Regis Time Portal allows visitors to use their own phones or tablets to get a glimpse of Victorian-era Bognor, with 3D recreations of the wooden bathing machines that once lined the town's beach.

The time portal uses augmented reality to celebrate the life of Mary Wheatland, a 19th-century local figure who was a bathing machine operator, swimming instructor, and lifeguard. 

Mary is famed for saving more than 30 people from drowning and was decorated for her heroic efforts.

Before working on this project, Matt was an accomplished artist with over 25 years' experience. 

His credits include film productions such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Red Dwarf, and the recent Netflix hit, Saltburn.

Matt said: 

"The idea for the Bognor Regis Time Portal originally came from a design module on my Master's degree course at the University of Brighton. 

"I always thought that ideas I came up with while on the course would have real-world applications. 

"And so, when I started the time portal project, I was keen to explore ways of making it real. 

"After several rejections, I eventually secured enough money to make it work. It was a difficult and long process, but it feels great to have finally achieved it."

He added: 

"The public reaction to the work has been fantastic, and in just the first two weeks we had over 5,000 visitors. 

"My hope was that the work would attract new visitors to Bognor Regis – from our initial reaction it seems that this is the case, which makes me very happy."

Visitors can see the Bognor Regis Time Portal at The Promenade opposite the Place St Maur, in the middle of the main beach.

by: Mike Cobley

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