“My dad is like Brunel,
his business is about people and transport."
Zac Khoudi, aged 11 (about his dad’s business Brunel Taxis)
is a graphic designer and photographer. Having been a partner in Thirteen,
a Bristol-based design business, he left two years ago to work on his own
and to spend more time developing personal projects. Currently he also
works for arts organisations as well as commercial businesses who contribute
to environmental issues.
Nick’s project involved interviewing and photographing local businesses
in and around Bristol that carry Brunel’s name. Nick worked with
25 businesses in total, including care homes, insurance brokers, car
repairers and florists. Nick’s interviews highlighted why the various
businesses had chosen to take Brunel’s name and what it meant to
them to be associated with the great man.
Nick displayed his images in a
disused Victorian toilet block on Park Row in Bristol, attracting over
800 visitors. Nick said: “It was
amazing how many visitors tuned into the idea and seemed to really enjoy
the interviews, portraits and location.”
Nick held a private view
on 4 April for those who were directly involved in the project, with 75
attendees. Later in the month, Ralph Hoyte, a poet working with Brunel
200, gave readings at the exhibition site of his epic Brunel
A book was printed to record Nick’s
work, and 1,500 copies were given away at the exhibition, to the local
press, and to all of the Brunel companies involved.
An excerpt from Nick’s
Brunel Precision Engineering:
“Maybe the name sounds a bit too ‘hot rivets’. We
design and make prototypes and small batch production. As kids, we would
lie over the airduct above one of Brunel’s GWR tunnels. As the
express went through, it would lift us into the air, then as it went
past it would suck you down onto the mesh – crazy really. I can
also remember standing on the Portway as a little lad watching the ss
Great Britain come in. If I could go back in time and meet anyone, it
would be Brunel, he was into everything, he even used gas hydraulics
to launch the ss Great Eastern”.
Nick commented on his own learning following the
is so much information that I have gathered about Brunel himself, it
feels like I have been involved in a sort of Brunel A level for the past
Comments from visitors included
“Great idea, great exhibition, great
“Wow! Amazing exhibition. Surprised to stumble across a gem in
the middle of the city… very friendly as well. Great job! Hope
to see more of this in the future.”
“A fitting purpose for the
building and a super project. IKB would have been proud!”
Photography: Mark Simmons.