Every month architects & industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in London.
Freddie Mason is Senior Creative Strategist at Bompas & Parr, a creative studio made up of artists, architects, chefs, designers, marketeers, strategists and technologists.
Why on earth do we give bears – in reality blood thirsty man-eaters – to our children at night to cuddle? Very strange.
At Bompas & Parr we were thrilled to explore questions such as this with our collective studio outing to CUTE at Somerset House. We’re a studio that started out making jelly, and we’re all too aware of the fine line between the wobbly and the oh-so adorable. Cuteness is a fascinating affective state, one we force onto things we actually feel most threatened by… Such as bears. A must see exhibition for us.
At the other end of the cultural spectrum there’s O))) at the Barbican. We love them – godfathers of noise, that build with every performance a massive ‘drone henge’ at several decibels above what you thought you could handle. Trying to assess whether O))) are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feels ridiculous, like trying to measure the infinite expanses of the universe with a metre-rule; they’re sublime.
The month of March also sees the return of Stone Club to the ICA. Founded by artists Lally MacBeth & Matthew Shaw, Stone Club gives stone enthusiasts a chance to congregate, muse and most importantly to stomp on stones. Bompas & Parr founder Sam Bompas has a longstanding obsession with fake rocks, and will be in enthusiastic attendance, front and centre for all screenings throughout the day, most excitingly The Bruce Lacey Experience by one of Britain’s greatest living artists Jeremy Deller and Nick Ambrahams.
We’ll pair our excursions into the world of stone with immersions into a bamboo forest at Bamboo as Method, artist Zheng Bo’s takeover of the Somerset House’s central courtyard. Here, one is invited to sketch the bamboo around you, on bamboo paper, with bamboo pencils, before scrunching the paper up and shoving it in the ground, to fertilise the bamboo growth. In a similar vein, we’d strongly advise anyone to try and catch the final few days of the annual Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens, which finishes on the 3rd March.
In terms of Bompas & Parr’s own experiential offerings, we are particularly excited to announce the launch of our Architectural Fireworks Competition for the London Festival of Architecture. This open call competition will see architects and creatives of all kinds (no restriction on age, abilities or qualifications) reimagine firework design, and the spaces and places in which they occur. Check in with the studio firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on this explosive competition.
And while we’re here, I have a couple of recommended reads for the month ahead.
After his wondrous descent into the universe of microbes inside our bodies with I Contain Multitudes, writer Ed Yong returns with An Immense World, a beautiful book exploring the latest understanding of multispecies Umwelt. Umwelt – or environment – refers to the sensory universe inhibited by different animals. What is the world like from the point of view of a dog, an ant, a boa constrictor? Read this, find out, and be amazed.
The challenge: take the humble sausage – mankind’s first ever designed food item – and make it future proof. The pressure is on to find more sustainable food habits for humanity. The sausage might hold some hope as a paragon of efficient butchery. Carolien Niebling’s The Sausage of the Future is a collaborative process of redesigning the sausage and a masterpiece of food design futurology.