Design: The Art of Pop-ups

Let’s dive into some of the most notable examples of Event Pop-Ups that have caught our attention.

Wire Mesh Installation for an Event in Abu Dhabi by Edoardo Tresoldi

Images courtesy of The Blind Eye Factory In collaboration with Design Lab Experience, Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi (you might remember him from this installation) has recreated a vast indoor “piazza” surrounded with ephemeral architectural fragments for a large event in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Spanning across 7,000sqm of event space, the installation was built entirely from wire mesh, comprising domes, arches, columns, colonnades and 1:1 scale replicas of Italian basilicas. Ummm… Wowzer, dude. If I just closed my eyes enough to make those average looking “function chairs” disappear, this space would probably be enough to reduce me to tears.

The Movement Cafe in London by Morag Myerscough

Images courtesy of Cathedral Group.

British designer and artist Morag Myerscough used the tweets of poet Lemn Sissay to create the bold graphics surrounding this temporary cafe in London’s Greenwich. The cafe was commissioned by developer Cathedral and constructed in just 16 days to coincide with the start of 2012 Olympic Games in London. The result of a public art collaboration between Myerscough, and Olympic Poet and prolific tweeter Lemn Sissay, the brightly painted words on the facade spelt out phrases tweeted by Sissay. The outdoor amphitheatre seating area provided a contemplative, sheltered place of respite for commuters and visitors to Greenwich. The structure of the building was made from plywood, scaffolding and shipping containers, while all the furniture was made by Myerscough and Luke Morgan from reclaimed laboratory tops.

Second Dome in London by DOSIS

Images courtesy of DOSIS. Photography by Iwan Baan & John Porral. Second Dome was a pneumatic living structure designed by the emerging Madrid-based architecture practice DOSIS for creative workspace provider Second Home. On 1 October 2016, Second Dome was inflated in London Fields in East London to host free community events for local families and children, included animation workshops, film screenings, pinata-designing and science experiments. This reconfigurable space can transform within minutes from a single 65 sqm bubble to a multi-room structure with over 400 sqm and 8 meters high. No other type of structure can be assembled so quickly while delivering the capacity to span large areas with a thickness of less than a millimetre. It is a technologic artefact that automatically responds to wind and pressure and that needs extremely low quantities of energy for fabrication and assembly.

Loud Shadows Temporary Bubble Pavilion in Amsterdam by Plastique Fantastique

Photography by Marco Canevacci, Jelte Keur & Maria Purik.

While we’re on the topic of pneumatic architecture, LOUD SHADOWS is an amalgamation of performances, music, dance and architecture, installed in Terschelling, The Netherlands. “The architecture of Plastique Fantastique is monumental, yet mobile, soft and transparent. It’s ephemeral skin influences the environment as much as its inner space offers a lucid view outwards,” said the architects.

Lexus Design Pavilion 2015 by Mim Design

Photography by Earl Carter.

In their second consecutive collaboration with Lexus, Mim Design chose to meld sculpture and luxury into a sensory feast at the world famous Melbourne Cup Carnival. The 2015 pavilion offered guests an all-encompassing visual experience via a textural interior of green hues, reflectivity, timber verticality and floral growth. These elements combined to reflect the luxurious and aspirational experience, for which Lexus is known.

The Temporary Andy Warhol Museum in Lisbon, Portugal by LIKEarchitects

Photography by Fernando Guerra.

The Temporary Andy Warhol Museum was a cultural space within a commercial space, designed to host the exhibition ‘Andy Warhol – Icons | Psaier Artworks and the Factory’. This miniature pop-up museum occupied the atrium of Lisbon’s Colombo Shopping Mall for a period of three months and was used to display 32 original artworks by the late American pop artist. LIKEarchitects were keen to avoid the neutral white walls of typical gallery spaces and instead opted to build a space using some of the everyday household objects that Warhol showcased in his paintings. Using 1,500 metal paint cans, Portuguese studio built a sequence of four rooms and organised them thematically. Having received more than 100,000 visitors, The Temporary Andy Warhol Museum has contributed to the dissemination and promotion of art, free and accessible to all visitors.

Shop 03 by i29 for Frame Magazine

Images courtesy of i29. Photography by Brandwacht & Meijer.

Dutch interior design studio i29 are serial ‘offenders’ in this story, this time with FRAME Magazine’s retail environment dubbed Shop 03. Flexibility and being able to completely change the display identity was the main focus for this store, as well as showcasing a creative and innovative world that surprised and invited exploration. In response, i29 proposed a radical concept: two shops in one with the coexistence of contradictory atmospheres. From the front, a museological installation of white panels and black frames floated throughout the exhibit. Hanging from the walls, floor, and ceiling, these components were symbolic of a blank canvas, as the use of text and graphics provided by artists link back to FRAME’s origins. Looking from the back, the shop offered a totally different experience – triangular shaped display boards in black-stained timber showed the actual products behind the front panels. Genius.

Nike Womenswear Pop-Up in NYC by Robert Storey Studio

Images courtesy of Robert Storey Studio. Photography by David S Allee.

Set designer Robert Storey (another serial ‘offender’ in our Story) used the bright colours of Nike’s womenswear range to inform the neon-lit interior of the sports brand’s New York presentation. Storey Studio created an artistic and immersive space that evoked femininity in an urban context. Taking soft colours and juxtaposing them against the angular language of the structure, the designers directly represented the collection within the cut outs of the framework. Iridescent light was used as a narrative throughout the four spaces, changing colour to guide the viewer from collection to fitting room to NTC training space. Materials were used in a playful and representational manner always bringing the viewer back to the core purpose – sport.

Nike’s Shoe Box Pop-Up in Shanghai by Rosie Lee

London-based agency Rosie Lee, created a pop-up space as a fully immersive Air Max experience at Design Shanghai. The design team created an oversized Nike sneaker box with transparent walls featuring rows of air bubbles exhibiting rare examples of Air Max. Super cool. The concept invited clients to interact with Air Max, incorporating a digital pre-order station via iPad and opportunities to win competitions.

Zuo Corp by Super Super and Inside/Outside in Warsaw

Photography by Jacek Majewski.

Mirrors lining the ceilings and walls of a tiny pop-up clothing shop in Warsaw created the illusion of endless rails of garments. Polish architects Super Super and Inside/Outside collaborated to design the temporary pavilion inside a mobile office container for clothing retailer Zuo Corp. Lengths of LED lights surrounding the edges of the walls reflected in the mirrors and appeared to create an infinite illuminated grid. Ironically, the dressing room, had no mirrors inside at all.

Boffo Building Fashion 2013 in NYC, by Neiheiser & Valle + Linda Farrow

Courtesy of Neiheiser & Valle. Photography by Naho Kubota & Evan Joseph.

2013 was the second installation in BOFFO Building Fashion series, opened for a three week fashion and architecture retail installation by Linda Farrow + Office of Neiheiser & Valle. A shipping container and surrounding warehouse in New York City were radically transformed, inviting visitors to a unique public art experience. An endless landscape of stone and light by Neiheiser & Valle adjacent to the Hudson River provided the backdrop for more than just Linda Farrow’s collection of luxurious eyewear, but an experience that transformed the brand for its New York City fans. For the installation, the architectural elements were minimised while the spatial qualities essential to both vision and illusion – deep space, radiance, and reflection – were maximised. The only objects present were the Linda Farrow glasses, suspended against an undulating environment of rich material qualities – coarse piles of stone, gold displays, ethereal mirrors, polished marble, and crisp light. Parallel walls of mirrored reflection multiplied the space in both directions, creating an infinite field that was both heavy and light, an expansive landscape paradoxically contained within the confines of a shipping container, an oasis of luxury and warmth unexpectedly discovered in a cold warehouse by the Hudson River.




CHEN JIAN LONG  © 2021 |

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