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Architecture & Design, Art & Public Space, Art Projects, Commissions, Commissions & Projects, Competitions, Exhibitions & Events, Installation, Interiors & Design

A Room for London: South Bank Centre, London. January-December 2012

A Room for London: A one-bedroom architectural installation and related programme of events on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the South Bank, London. It was built as a collaboration between Living Architecture and Artangel, in association with Southbank Centre. A night on the boathouse overlooking the River Thames was offered as a rental of £120 per night from January to December 2012 it sold out immediately.

The design and concept is by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with Fiona Banner and was the winning entry in an open competition to create a room where up to two people at a time could spend a night in an architectural landmark. They set out to create a contrasting visitor experience between public and private space perched on a vantage point in central London, while the visitors’ privacy is completely protected and it is they who are able to look out at London and the people below.

The design is inspired by the riverboat, Roi des Belges, captained by Joseph Conrad whilst in the Congo in 1890 – a journey later echoed in Heart of Darkness. The pyramidal steel mast makes reference to one of London’s architectural highlights, the spire of Hawksmoor’s Christ Church. The interior timber lined walls are coloured magenta and turquoise and suggest a traditional riverboat nautical atmosphere. Bespoke furniture has been integrated, including a centrepiece bed which slides on rails to make the most of the views over London. A pulldown ladder gives access to a small library room above the main space with views across London,

Artangel is producing a programme of writings, readings and live music webcasts created in A Room for London. The programme includes A London Address, a series of urban reflections by writers; Sounds from a Room, a sequence of live webcast performances by musicians from across the globe; and Ideas for London, a competition, in association with the Evening Standard, to discover Londoners’ ideas for their city.

Living Architecture is dedicated to working with world-class architects to build houses for rent around the UK. Completed projects are The Balancing Barn by MVRDV; The Shingle House by NORD Architecture; The Dune House by Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects; The Long House by Hopkins Architects. A Secular Retreat, in South Devon by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Is due to be completed in 2012

Artangel’s A Room for London was devised by Sophie Howarth, Laura Barton, James Lingwood and Michael Morris as part of their programme of commissioned projects by contemporary artists for the London 2012 Festival.

David Kohn Architects is a young London based practice. Recent projects include a rooftop pavilion for the Architecture Foundation, a temporary restaurant for the Royal Academy and a West End contemporary art gallery. Awards include the 2009 Young Architect of the Year and the 2010 One-Off House Architect of the Year for a holiday home in Norfolk.

Fiona Banner’s recent work explores the themes of narrative and history. For her installation Harrier and Jaguar, 2010, she placed two fighter planes in the central atrium of Tate Britain. While a series of five sculptures from 2004, Slipstream, Optical, Courier, Klang and Nuptial, at More London on the riverfront by Tower Bridge are based on enlarged punctuation.






About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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