Forests by MINI LIVING and Asif Khan

Landmark Project

17 — 25 Sept 2016

Architecture / Landscape, Urban Design

Shoreditch Fire Station

235 Old Street, London



London Design Festival collaborated with designer Asif Khan and MINI LIVING in an exploration of architectural solutions to urban living challenges.

Asif Khan designed a family of architectural installations called “Forests” using plants to explore the relationship between public and private space in the city. The designs speculated on the possibilities of “third places” as described by sociologist Ray Oldenburg; places which “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.” Three architectural installations with different interior landscapes and plant life were inserted on nearby sites in Shoreditch’s busy city streets, offering visitors a temporary network of spaces to connect, create and relax in an immersive atmosphere. Although each space was open to different types of activity, the layout also enabled the hosting of specific events during the Festival. In the square next to Shoreditch Fire Station a long communal table was installed, encouraging visitors to meet and interact. Not far away in Charles Square stepped seating served as a place for visitors to work in quiet surroundings. Finally, the junction of Old Street and Pitfield Street featured an elevated room that offered passers-by a secluded green room in the city. MINI LIVING invited Festival visitors to use the installations as extensions of their private space and to link the public and the private by taking plants home, growing them in their own homes and sharing their plant’s progress on social media. The pavilions could also be enjoyed at night time, when these tranquil environments surrounded in lush plantings became softly illuminated. Supported by MINI LIVING. Further support by Conservatory Archives, SEAM and iGuzzini.