Open House London 2015 was yet another success. I’ve been going for so many years and I always come away inspired and with tons of new ideas. We were really lucky with the weather. Like every year, I wish I could have seen more but what I did see was stunning.
One such gem, who opened up their studio to the public as part of this annual event, was international award-winning design and architecture studio AL_A. Founded in 2009 by Amanda Levete, three years ago they moved to a top-lit studio, formerly an Islington Council transport depot.
Everyone takes off their shoes. I immediately felt at ease. Apparently the same happens when clients come for a meeting. For those who know me, how jealous am I of this magazine display?
Space is not something the studio lacks in and there are shelves upon shelves lined with magazines and books. I did ask whether I could just turn up and help myself to this extensive library….
The studio is bright, spacious, warm and has a really good vibe. I was surprised to find out that most people working there are in their 20’s and 30’s. With some exciting and prestigious projects on the go, this is one vibrant and hip studio.
Always curious, I found two tables tucked away in the corner full of samples for materials.
Throughout the studio there were models, drawings and visuals of previous and ongoing projects. I have a soft spot for model making.
One of the ongoing projects is the highly anticipated expansion of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, due for completion in early 2017. The V&A are undertaking their largest building project in over 100 years, to create a new courtyard, grand entrance and subterranean gallery for temporary exhibitions. Although it was Sunday and London Open House, some of the staff came in to work. I had a few questions regarding their model making and was lucky to be helped out by Win Assakul.
Win, born in Thailand and educated in the UK, joined AL_A in 2011. Amanda Levete once said of him: ” Win was probably the best year-out student we have ever had….. he is quite exceptional as a designer, thinker and communicator. It is rare to find those qualities in one so young.”
I wanted t know about the V&A extension model, (details seen here below). As he was the one who worked on it, he knew everything about it. They used 3mm clear perspex. Then the back gets airbrushed in white. Meanwhile the front is laser engraved and then cut out. Next, the whole front panel gets inked in and the residue is then wiped off, leaving the laser engraved bits with ink. Genius and really effective.
It was such an honour to see some of the photographs and drawings of the V&A extension.
It’s always such a pleasure to see creative spaces where so many wonderful projects come to life. Thank you AL_A for so generously opening your doors. Loved every minute.
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