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Installations at London Design Festival ’16 make innovative use of timber

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - 2016-12-28

babushka boxes timber installation London Design Festival 2016 Landmark projects

At a press conference held on May 4 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the London Design Festival presented the program of this year’s edition of the acclaimed annual design event which will take place from September 17 through 25, 2016.

The list of exhibitions, special events, commissions, conferences, talks, and live performances also includes two major urban installations, called “landmark projects”, entitled The Smile and Baboushka Boxes.

The Smile
The installation “The Smile” is aimed to provide its visitors an unconventional overview of the city.
The project comes from a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council, Alison Brooks Architects, Arup, Merk, and The London Design Festival.

Making an innovative use of cross-laminated timber (American Tulipwood, to be precise), Alison Brooks Architects have conceived a rectangular-section tubular structure, 36-meter long and 3,5-meter high. The timber tube is shaped like an upside-down arc which, like a wheel, touches the ground at a single point and seems in a precarious balance. Each edge of the tube is open, thus creating two panoramic balconies for the public which will be illuminated at night; therefore, the structure, together with its two light beams projecting from its edges, will become a boundless smile.

the smile timber installation London Design Festival 2016 Landmark projects


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The Smile installation by Alison Brooks Architects; rendering

Baboushka Boxes
“Baboushka Boxes”, the second Landmark Project of the London Design Festival 2016, is a conceptual installation inspired by the theme of housing shortage, currently a very serious issue in the UK.

Jointly commissioned by the charity Shelter and by Legal & General to the architectural office dRMM – de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects, the project is intended as a “mini manifesto” which invites people to think about new modalities of designing and building dwellings. The installation is made by a series of prefabricated boxes – again made in cross-laminated timber – arranges in space to create flexible and low-cost “ideal” habitable units.
Each box is a living space and they are stacked on one another and set on the site to create communal routes and shared areas for socialization and outdoor activities.

Cover image: Baboushka Boxes by dRMM, rendering


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