Spectra lights up the night sky


SpectraA pillar of light in London has commemorated the beginning of World War I.

Spectra, by Ryoji Ikeda, shot up through the night on 4th August to mark the centenary of the War, just as landmarks were dimmed and the final candle in Westminster Abbey was snuffed out.

The installation, located in Victoria Tower Gardens, was part of the Royal British Legion’s ‘Lights Out’ campaign and lit up the night sky for a week.

Take a look at more pictures of Spectra here and let us know what you think.

‘Dead parrot’ installed in London


Dead parrotA giant dead parrot was installed in London last week to celebrate the last Monty Python show.

The 50 foot fibreglass sculpture was a tribute to Monty Python’s famous ‘dead parrot’ sketch and was placed near Tower Bridge in the run-up to the last show.

The sculpture took more than two months to complete; lead sculptor Iain Prendergast said: “The key challenge for us was capturing the comedy value of the dead parrot, keeping the realism of the bird whilst also adding touches like the bloodshot, stunned eyes.”

The parrot was delivered to the O2 Arena for the final performance of Monty Python’s ‘Live (mostly)’ farewell show on Sunday.

Find out more about the dead parrot here and tell us what you think of the stunt.

Photographs of Design Museum revealed


The Design MuseumPhotographs of the new Design Museum in South Kensington have been released.

The museum, which is currently under construction, is due to open in 2016 and will be three times the size of the current building.

The £80 million project will include design workshops and a design library, a free-to-enter permanent collection and a gift shop.

A virtual tour of the site was made available online last year.

Find out more here and let us know what you think about the project.

LEGO bus stop on Regent Street


LEGO bus stopTransport for London (TfL) is celebrating the Year of the Bus by installing a bus stop made entirely from LEGO bricks.

The stop, which is on Regent Street, has been created in conjunction with the nearby Hamleys toy stop and is made from 100,000 pieces of LEGO.

It took two weeks to put together, but TfL hopes the bus shelter with a difference ‘will bring a smile to the face of even a hardened commuter’.

Even the windows of the bus stop have been replaced with clear LEGO bricks, although the more complex transport maps were printed as usual and then pasted onto the LEGO wall.

The Year of the Bus celebrates several bus-related anniversaries, including the 60th anniversary of the iconic Routemaster bus.

Take a closer look at the LEGO bus stop here and let us know what you think of it.

King’s Cross Tunnel Light Wall


King’s Cross Tunnel Light WallA tunnel which incorporates an LED integrated art wall has been opened at King’s Cross.

The art wall, by The Light Lab, runs the length of the 90-metre long tunnel and is described as a ‘moving light show’.

Capable of emanating the RGB and white light spectrums, the wall will display artwork; the first piece on display is ‘Pipette’ by Miriam Sleeman.

The tunnel connects St. Pancras International and King’s Cross St. Pancras underground stations to One Pancras Square.

Read more about the wall here and tell us what you think.

Colourful Tour de France posters


TfL postersM&C Saatchi has designed some colourful graphic posters for the Tour de France’s London stage, on behalf of Transport for London.

The posters, which use bold colours and clean lines (reminiscent of Tom Eckersley’s work for London Underground), warn Londoners about the road closures during the race.

The campaign also includes outdoor, press and digital work in the run-up to the event, which reaches the city on the 7th July.

Find out more about the Tour de France here and let us know what you think of the posters.

3D postcards encourage Brits to ‘Get Up & Go’


Get Up & GoTravelodge took over Waterloo station with interactive picture postcards last week.

The hotel chain used 3D street art to promote its ‘Get Up & Go’ campaign, which encourages Britons to be more adventurous.

The campaign grew from Travelodge’s survey, which revealed that less than a third of Brits would do something adventurous, such as a white-knuckle sport.

Commuters and members of the public could be photographed in front of the pictures, which gave the illusion that they were abseiling down the White Cliffs of Dover or waterskiing down the River Thames.

Find out more about the campaign here and tell us if this makes you feel like trying something adventurous.

Clerkenwell Design Week


Visualisation of Jaguar Foscarini installationThe fifth Clerkenwell Design Week opened on Tuesday 20th May, hosting the most innovative products, designers and brands around. Here are a few of our favourite locations on the showcase trail:

Design Factory – The Farmiloe Building

Jaguar and Italian lighting firm Foscarini have created a dramatic scene in the Design Factory’s atrium, pairing a bespoke Jaguar with a supersized light installation by Ferruccio Laviani.

Jaguar invited designers to submit concept wraps for its new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé, using the #FearlessDesign hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

The winning design, ‘Untamed Creativity’ by Justin Silke, resembles a dynamic scrawl, which Jaguar described as embodying their ‘design ethos of visual drama and individualism’.

Laviani’s Tuareg consists of orange and black tubular elements arranged into a three-dimensional structure and suspended from the ceiling. There are other Tuareg installations on display in the Foscarini stage, alongside other work, including Big Bang by Vicente Garcia Jimenez, Lightwing by Jean Marie Massaud and Rituals by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.

Detail – St. John’s Square

Another exhibition worth visiting is Detail at St. John’s Square, which hosts luxury interior brands. One must-see is the edra showcase in the medieval crypt of the Order of St. John; featuring work from designers such as the Campana brothers, the pieces combine eclectic influences and reimagine them in classic furniture styles. The lowlights and tranquillity of the crypt somehow enhance the ‘otherness’ of the collection, ensuring a memorable experience.


Tile Mile – St. John’s Gate

Tile Mile - DezeenTile Mile invites visitors to revel in the kaleidoscopic effect of the transformed St. John’s Gate, which is described in The Icon Guide to CDW as being ‘reminiscent of the famous Basilica Cistern in Istanbul’.

Using mirrors in the inner arches and a complex, colourful floor tile design, Tile Mile also reflects the archway’s stunning vaulted ceiling. The temporary installation was created by architects russ + henshaw and sponsored by Turkishceramics.

Find out more about Clerkenwell Design Week (which runs until the 22nd May) here.

‘Unbelievable’ campaign surprises Londoners


Pepsi Max gave Londoners a surprise when it launched a new strand of its ‘Unbelievable’ campaign in the capital.

The drink brand installed augmented reality technology on an ordinary bus shelter on New Oxford Street, which could stream realistic images to the waiting travellers.

These real-time images included a tiger padding down the pavement, a meteorite strike, and even an alien invasion.

The reactions of the unsuspecting commuters have been filmed for Pepsi’s online content, which you can take a look at here. After their initial shock, many people started to join in the fun, pretending to be chased by the tiger or zapped by alien rays.

The concept, which was devised by AMV BBDO, is part of the wider ‘Unbelievable’ campaign, which involves fantastic feats and challenges, such as the ‘Human Loop the Loop’ and the ‘Shadow Dance Challenge’.

Watch the video below and tell us what you think of the innovative offering.

Futuristic kiosks in Canary Wharf


In Canary Wharf, two metal kiosks have popped up with a futuristic design inspired by origami.

The multifunctional kiosks were designed by London architecture firm, Make, and resemble three-dimensional concertina fans.

Starting as a closed rectangular box, each kiosk is constructed from hinged aluminium panels that radiate from a central axis and is winched open to provide a protective canopy.

The interior of each kiosk is lined with waterproofing and insulation materials, and the whole structure is very lightweight.

Ideal for street vendors, the kiosks can also be used as information points, serving food and drink or even DJs, at a wide range of events.

The kiosks were used for Canary Wharf’s Ice Sculpting Festival and will be present for other occasions in the area.

Find out more about Make’s kiosks here and tell us if you would like to see them popping up at more outdoor events.

Trio of famous British actors star in #GoodToBeBad campaign


UK car manufacturer Jaguar has added some English elegance to America’s Super Bowl with its ‘#GoodToBeBad’ advertising campaign.

Jaguar’s advert sees actors Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong sweep through London for a rendezvous while exploring why Brits make the best villains. Style, sophistication and the famed ‘stiff upper lip’ are all mentioned, but they decide that driving Jaguars is the clincher.

Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The Damned United, The King’s Speech) directed the advert, which was devised by Spark44.

Spark44’s managing director, Simon Binns, said: “Jaguar produces the most stylish premium performance cars and British actors create the most convincing and powerful villains in Hollywood movies. So we felt the archetypal British villain and the new Jaguar F-Type were made for each other.”

Watch the advert below and tell us what you think – do Brits make the best villains?

Fascinating video shows London in 1927 and 2013


The steps of a pioneer from 1927 have been retraced to demonstrate how London has, and hasn’t, changed over the past century.

Simon Smith recreated Claude Friese-Greene’s journey across Britain. The famous cinematographer captured the hubbub of London life in the Roaring Twenties and Smith aimed to match every shot.

Smith said: ‘Over the past six months, I have attempted to capture every one of his shots, standing in his footsteps, and using modern equivalents of his camera and lenses. This has been a personal study that has revealed how little London has changed.’

The BFI-restored 1927 film is placed next to the 2013 footage and includes famous landmarks such as The Cenotaph and the Houses of Parliament, showing a city that has moved with the times and yet has retained its unique charm.

Take a look at the fascinating video below and tell us what you think.

Eckersley exhibition opens in London


A free exhibition dedicated to Tom Eckersley’s work is being held at the London College of Communications (LCC) this month, incorporating many of his famous posters.

Taking cues from the Modernist movement, Eckersley created simple yet clever bold designs which influenced generations of graphic designers.

The poster artist produced work for London Transport and other public service organisations throughout his sixty-year career.

He also established the UK’s first undergraduate graphic design course at the LCC’s predecessor, the London College of Printing.

This year marks the centenary of his birth and the forty posters on display come from the LCC’s own archive. The tribute runs from the 11th to the 29th January.

Take a look at some of Eckersley’s work here and tell us if you’ll be going along to ‘Tom Eckersley: Master of the Poster’.

London Design Festival – around the capital for everyone


The London Design Festival is an annual event bringing together the design world to see the latest innovations, trends and products in the field. This year it celebrates how design is everywhere for everyone, offering trade fairs to professionals alongside public installations. 

Organised for its 11th year, the festival promotes London as the world capital of design and as an international gateway to creativity. It expects more than 250 partners and over 300 events showcasing the best in design. As ever, the programme includes various commissioned projects, with highlights at St Paul’s Cathedral and at its hub venue, the Victoria and Albert Museum, with a number of site-specific installations, multiple product launches and also a Jamie Oliver pop-up restaurant at Designjunction.  

The London Design Festival takes place in 14 – 22 September 2013. Get ready for the global design celebration and join the discussion on Twitter @L_D_F or  #LDF13.

Partnering with Article 25 for 10×10 Drawing the City London


10 x 10 drawingArticle 25Celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year, The Think Tank is pleased to announce that we have become the media partner for Article 25’s flagship event, 10×10 Drawing the City London.

Not only does 10 x10  raise a substantial amount of money for the Charity’s projects, it is also a chance to promote Article 25’s work more broadly and to reach new audiences, as well as those connected to the construction industry.

The first stage of this event, the Drawing Weekend, takes place in September and will involve a range of high profile architects and artists producing images within an allotted area of London. These images are then exhibited for two weeks in November. This exhibition will then culminate in an auction event to raise funds for Article 25.

We will be donating time and resources to help promote and secure press coverage for the 10×10 event, and our support will be led by PR Account Manager, Jana Pavelkova and PR Senior Account Manager, Louise Gough.  We’ll keep you posted on updates and progress via the Think Tank blog.

The 25th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that adequate shelter and housing are fundamental to our human rights. Article 25 works to enable this right by building solutions to global problems.

To find out more on Article 25, please click here.

If you want to find out more on 10×10 or get involved in supporting the event, please contact janap@thinktank.org.uk

See it, explore it, love it


LFALFALFALondon Festival of Architecture will lift your eyes from the streets, raise them up to the roofs, and help you to fall in love with London’s unique and much admired architectural landscape.

London Festival of Architecture, first held in 2004, has become an annual event due its increasing popularity, celebrating London’s built-environment. It investigates the importance of architecture and design in London’s success and celebrates the city’s role as a global hub of architectural experimentation, thinking, learning and practise.

Open to public and professionals, the Festival aims to promote positive change and improvement in the city’s public realm revealing the potential latent within the city by increasing access and suggesting alternative uses for spaces.

During the last week of the Festival, you still have an exciting chance to explore architecture and the environment on a River Thames boat cruise from Kew Bridge to Hampton Court, listen to talks about Urban Exhibitionism and energy, participate in a tour at the London Transport Museum or walk at the Barbican and to visit ongoing exhibitions in various venues, including the Barbican Art Gallery and London Metropolitan University.  The Bartlett,  UCL‘s School of Architecture, Summer Show opened on the 21st June until 29th June as part of LFA 2013.

The London Festival of Architecture takes place until 30th June, with a rich and varied programme organised by individual practices and artists.  More information and the events calendar here or follow news on Twitter.

£1bn business district for East London


Docklands developmentDocklands developmentPlans are in motion to regenerate London Docklands, more precisely the area around Royal Albert Dock.

The plans, which will see architects Farrells work with developers Stanhope and commercial developer ABP China (Holding), will create 3.2 million square feet of retail and leisure space and 2.5 million square feet of office space.

It already has interest in the first phase from Chinese companies, including some banks, with the first occupiers to move in from 2017.

The project will see a £1 billion investment into the 35 acre area currently owned by the Greater London Authority.

Serpentine pavilion opens for the summer


Serpentine Gallery pavilionThe 2013 Serpentine Gallery pavilion in Kensington Gardens opened last week. Designed by Sou Fujimoto the pavilion, which is said to resemble a cloud, will be open until 20th October 2013.

A geometric structure constructed using from metal beams, it strikes a delicate balance between man and nature, utilising natural daylight  and creating a closed off space, which still allows visitors to experience the nature around them.

Read more about the design in out previous blog post.

Foster + Partners design two new London skyscrapers


250 City Road250 City RoadBritish architecture firm Foster + Partners has unveiled plans for two residential skyscrapers as part of the 250 City Road project, led by property developers Berkeley Group.

The skyscrapers will form part of a cluster of residential towers proposed for the City Road area in Islington, a redevelopment of a 1.9 hectare site currently occupied by a cluster of commercial buildings.

Other companies involved in the project include landscape architects Gillespies, Dutch firm UNStudio and US architects SOM.

Elsewhere in London, Foster + Partners recently received planning permission for three residential towers on the south side of the river Thames near Lambeth Bridge.

More about the 250 City Road project can be found here.

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