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Sandra Douglas, designer



Sandra DouglasSandra DouglasSandra Douglas was born in Crawley, West Sussex, and educated at Rochester grammar school, followed by a foundation course at Canterbury College of Art. Sandra's project for her finals, the visionary concept of a cinema installed within a disused gasometer, gained her a first. She died of breast cancer in 2010, aged 51.

In the 1980s, Sandra Douglas, worked at Ben Kelly Design in London, where she was closely involved in projects including the Haçienda nightclub in Manchester, for Factory Records and the band New Order. The Haçienda and two other Manchester projects for Factory, the Dry 201 bar and the label's headquarters, had a deeply radical influence on the discipline of interior design. Although now demolished, the Haçienda is still used by design students as a case study.

Joining the museum designers MET Studio in 1991, Sandra brought a fresh and gutsy rawness to exhibition design. She introduced a much-needed sense of architectural rigour to the projects, making one think differently about telling stories spatially, as witnessed by her work on the Water Gallery for the National Museum of Science and Industry in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In 1995, she worked on a commission to convert L'Olympic, a cinema dating from 1927 in Nantes, France, into a club and venue.

Sandra finally settled at the design practice Johnson Naylor in London, where she was a powerful creative force. Always drawing on her deep interest in the visual arts (she couldn't walk past Tate Modern without running in for a look), she worked on a huge range of projects.

Sandra had a wonderful knack of making friends, who loved her great sense of fun, her vivaciousness, her courage and her spirited ability to hold an opinion on just about anything. Even in her last days she made an impact. The abstract paintings she created, and kept with her in her room at Trinity hospice in Clapham, south-west London, are now going to be reproduced on cards for the benefit of the charity.

She is survived by her daughter, Raye, her mother, Jeanette, and her brothers Malcolm and Keith. Her father, Alec, died in 2007.


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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024