One of the year’s most highly anticipated events is in full swing right now, and you don’t want to miss out any of the action, which attracts nearly half a million people every year. The London Festival of Architecture is the biggest celebration of its kind, and it’s been going strong ever since its inception in 2004. From silly to serious, each day of the fair is filled with all-ages events that will be remembered for decades to come. Don’t dawdle, because the party’s over when June ends.
Famous Female Follies
Celebrate the illustrious ladies of London with a series of elaborately costumed revues that honor such outstanding figures as Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and PJ Harvey, all of which are brilliantly presented by the city’s top designers and artists. All shows are free and take place at the Marlborough Sports Garden.
Make your way to 1 Vyner Street (adjacent to Regent’s Canal) to travel back in time to 15th-century Venice. Architects from Fourthspace have created a pop-up bar and restaurant called Ombra Altana. The raised terrace has been topped with scaffolding and adorned with sweeping drapes and faux flowers the color of Aperol, allowing the mind’s eye to take a holiday of its very own.
St Paul’s Gateway Goes Glitzy
People who’ve been mesmerized by Sir Christopher Wren’s masterwork at first glance will do a double take when they see this reimagining of it, which is the brainchild of Scott Whitby Studio and Cheapside BID in alliance with engineering group Arup. Hovering over St Paul’s Tube station, this version is a mirrored trapezoid that sparkles with glittering anodized aluminum.
Bizarre Benches Showcase Artistic Designs
What better way to add some oomph to London’s landscape than by adding nine new public benches around the city designed by wildly creative architects, architecture students, and recent graduates. Among the standouts are a bench made using 45,000 pennies, another made from a collage of red and green stock charts, and one that commemorates all our canine friends interred in Houndsditch.
Grab a Bite at London Bridge Open Kitchen
On June 29th and 30th from 11 AM to 8 PM, London Bridge Open Kitchen will celebrate its billion-pound upgrade by serving lunch at a pop-up venue, featuring the best food and drink from a myriad of local suppliers and eateries. If you’re an architectural history buff, be there between 1 and 1:45 PM to learn about the history of London Bridge Station on a walking tour led by Grimshaw Architects and National Rail Enquiries.
Spice is Nice…Especially Those Magical Scents
“Scents of Shad Thames” has deep roots in London, centering on a neighborhood that’s famous for the wafting aromas of spices that used to fill the air throughout the whole city. The multisensory exhibition reveals the rich history of this once sordid and dodgy conglomerate of dark but aromatic wharves and warehouses. Check out the story, along with photographs and drawings of the historic district, at Anise Gallery.
The London Draw
People were allowed to join the LONDINITY experience at the Marlin Waterloo Hotel on June 25 for a lesson in sketching. At this event, spectators were taught a few basic shading techniques and how to maximize the use of color, using both sketchbooks and smartphones to create individualized views of London.
This is just a small part of the long list of events and attractions going on at this year’s London Festival of Architecture. Plan to spend several days there so you don’t miss anything.