See and be seen — this summarises the intention of the RIBA Window Project. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is bringing together young, popular architectural companies with international (fashion) brands. The task: to design a display window for a period of three weeks. The architects can present themselves to a broad public and prove that they are at home in all standards. The participating businesses receive an extraordinary product presentation as well as the opportunity to experiment with their appearance for a limited period of time.
A successful concept: In London's Regent Street — the luxury shopping mile — the architectural display window design impressed locals and visitors in the autumn of 2014 for a fifth time. For two years now the project has also been taking place in Shanghai. In Xintiandi — an old Shanghai district that is now primarily home to shops and gastronomy establishments following renovations — ten British architecture companies presented themselves to 50.000–60.000 visitors daily in April 2014. VCA shows a selection of the best contributions.
All photos: Liam Clarke for RIBA London
The Mamou-Mani and Arup Associates architectural practices have together developed and completed a large-sized origami sculpture. Inspired by the traditional presentation of Chinese landscapes — in particular trees and Suzhou stones — the sculpture brings the display window alive. It arouses curiosity and invites you to interact with it. Visitors have their photos taken with the sculpture and thus become part of the display window design. From a design perspective, the organic form contrasts with the straight-lined, puristic interior design of the store and thus plays on the principle of yin and yang.
Above all, the technical challenge lay in the size and stability of the "architectural origami". The sculpture consists of over 800 individual parts cut out by laser.
The architectural practice Gundry&Ducker is also taking up the motif of Chinese landscape painting. Fitting with the traditional Chinese style of the silver jewellery of PH7, the young architects designed a perspective image. Scenes arranged behind one another give the installation a spatial depth — the visitor has the impression of entering the image. The pieces of jewellery are arranged as lotus flowers and thus form part of the sculpture.
The architect Carl Turner finds his inspiration more in current everyday life rather than in traditional culture. For the Moleskin store, he is creating a modern skyline from the famous notebooks. Stylised façades were cut out of the books by laser and put together to create skyscrapers for an imaginary metropolis.
At a deeper level, the installation references the interest of Moleskin in the interaction between the digital and analogue worlds and the influence of this interaction on designers, artists, etc., as computer technology was used exclusively for the design and implementation of the skyline.