Update: A Little Bit of Soul is now closed, and SLurl links have been removed from this article.
Occupying one half of a Full region, A Little Bit of Soul is group design offering a huge amount to see and explore. Running from west to east across the region, it presents what might be seen as a build in three parts, all of which flow together to offer a unifies setting.
At the western end is a built-up area which encloses the landing point. Split into two parts, it encloses the landing point within a plaza-like square surrounded by boutique-style businesses, some of which have town style houses built above them. Footpaths run around the shops on two sides, one of which forms a small road lined with more shop fronts with living spaces over them, while the other offers a way to a waterfront area.
This small precinct offers a pristine setting: shop fronts are freshly painted, balconies are lined with potted plants, and trees and hedges are neatly trimmed. A small metal gazebo sits towards the middle of the square, a harpsichord, guitar and drum set forming a curious setting for a trio of musicians. All-in-all, there is a strong European cosmopolitan air within this part of the parcel.
Walk westward across the plaza from the landing point, and you’ll find a narrow set of steps lead up to the second half of this built-up area. This is altogether more run-down in tone – and becomes progressively more so as you explore. It is reached via two pairs of doors at the top of the steps leading up from plaza, which open onto another square surrounded on three sides by what might at first glance appear to be small apartments or perhaps hotel rooms, windows lit. With its hanging ivy, open verandahs in cast iron, and open courtyard, this area has something of an old New Orleans feel to it.
With the exception of a first floor room sitting over an arched entrance leading out of the square, the “rooms” of this hotel / apartment setting are actually false, and demonstrate a clever use of space on the part of the designer here, Megan Prumier. Pass through the archway and take the ramp or steps on its other side, and you’ll find the “rooms” of the hotel / apartment house have become the frontage for run-down stores facing out onto little streets.
This raised area offers a collection of footpaths and open spaces set with tables and chairs, market stalls and other bric-a-brac and general detritus, all set amidst the shells of ruined buildings. The entire area exuding an aged feel, with more shells of ruined buildings sitting off-shore, rising above tall walls to give the parcel an added sense of depth.
Travel east from the landing point, under an archway between two stores, and you’ll come to the second element in the parcel’s design. The first part of this area is a small chapel and churchyard, again put together by Megan, caught under a steady downfall of rain. Beyond this, under a further archway, sits a much smaller group of shops, bordered on both sides by woodlands, the southern of which has paths and trails running through it, as well as places to sit – or bathe.
Designed by Xange Madrigal, this area flows seamlessly into the surrounding woodlands and the surrounding rugged countryside. A small body of water can be found here, together with a raised terrace with seating while more paths lead the way to hidden gems of areas, simple wooden bridges crossing the water where necessary to encourage explorers onwards.
And still there is more: the eastern end of the region offers more woodland, copses, trails, an outdoor space for weddings or other celebrations, a waterfront a sauna deck and gazebo looking out over offshore islands which again add further depth to the parcel, and a cabin-style home. These have all been brought together by several more contributors to the region – although I’m not entirely sure if the cabin is intended to be open to the public at large, so please keep this in mind when visiting.
Throughout my visits, A Little Bit of Soul was caught under a twilight sky, and while this works, I would suggest it limits the appreciation of the beauty of the parcel, which far more comes to life under a daylight setting. However, I strongly recommend seeing the setting under both its intended windlight (Bryn Oh’s Mayfly) and a good daylight setting: A Little Bit of Soul is a marvellous setting, well deserving of a visit.
With thanks toy Shakespeare (SkinnyNilla).