By Babita Ram
London Design Festival has so many exciting events to choose from, it is difficult to know which to attend. Here to help you decide, I’ve picked out the best of this year’s green spaces.
“MINI LIVING: Future of urban living”, drew on the topic of connected and shared living in dense urban environments like London. The densification of urban cities means that designers have to think inventively about the future of the environments they are creating. Using common areas (such as living/ kitchen areas), as shared spaces is hoped to bring people together as well as responding to diminishing build-able land. These ideas manifest in 3 installations, designed by Asif Khan for MINI LIVING, titled “Forests”.
The idea behind Forests was to create spaces termed ‘third places’, places which are in-between work and home, private and public; and so one is encouraged to ‘enjoy a private moment in public’. Titled ‘create’, ‘relax’ and ‘connect’, the installations take the form of boxes made from walls of corrugated plastic on unimposing steel frames. All have plants either inside or outside the pavilions, which visitors are encouraged to take home. The first pavilion encourages one to walk through and ‘connect’ (with each other and nature); the second allows you to create (via charging points within the pavilion); and the third is a place wherein one can ‘relax’ (through an elevated ‘box’). If you are short on time, head straight to ‘relax’ – it creates an intimate space which takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Old Street, particularly during twilight hours as the structure lights up.
Another great installation is The ‘Elytra Filament Pavilion’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum which sits within the open courtyard area of the museum. Here, large tree like structures are woven together by a machine using carbon fibres. The structure takes it design cue from the fore winged structure of flying beetles, known as elytra. The pavilion is responsive and will grow over the duration of its exhibition as the machine produces the next ‘wings’ to be attached. It is a triumph in terms of technological advancements and makes one question traditional construction techniques and our ever growing reliance on machines. The pavilion is, however, at its core, something to be enjoyed publicly and to bring people together on the V&A green under one expansive structure.
My final recommendation is a more sedate way to experience green space in the bustle of the city. After all this event attending, one needs to recharge. And how better than at The Hoxton, Shoreditch, enjoying a latte in their covered courtyard area which has been transformed into a ‘Tropical Paradise’ – complete with golden elephants, monkeys, cockatoos and flamingos. On a dull September day, it certainly brings a bit of sunshine to this end of London.
The London Festival Design Festival 2016 runs from 17-25th September. Throughout the week JRA will be exploring key themes raised by the material in the exhibitions.