Categories DesignPosted on

‘Forests’ by Asif Khan: London Design Week

If you have the good fortune to be in Shoreditch for the next few days, be sure to checkout three temporary installations (within a short distance of each other) that together comprise an innovative connecting experience called ‘Forests’.

If you have the good fortune to be in Shoreditch for the next few days, be sure to checkout three temporary installations (within a short distance of each other) that together comprise an innovative connecting experience called ‘Forests’.


Asif Khan and his collaborators, MINI Living’s Oke Hauser and Jin Ahn have created three structures from agricultural materials, recycled tyre mulch and plants and foliage. The first one in Charles Square Gardens is a walk-through construction with benches and plants – with a table to be added later. The effect of the translucent corrugated plastic walls and opaque ceiling is to muffle the sound of the traffic from nearby Old Street and to transport the occupant instantly to a calmer, more reflective space. The tropical nature of the plants inside evokes Kew Gardens in the leafy suburbs rather than the hectic centre of the capital. Interestingly, SEEN observed many people just walking straight through the construction without properly registering it – which is perhaps rather the point. Time to stop and take a breather.



The second installation is located inside Vince Square and invites passers-by, residents of the surrounding estate and the visitor alike to enter, sit down, charge their phones, work, talk and perhaps begin initiatives and collaborations of their own. The recycled tyre mulch is formed into blocks in this space, which can be moved around easily at the whim of the occupants. The plants here are hardy varieties suitable for the outside.


The third structure is near Pitfield Street and consists of a small raised mound up which one walks to enter the stilted construction from underneath. As you look up, there’s a ‘hanging gardens’ feel with climbing plants coming down from the ceiling and the interior space is also lined with foliage and plants. Again, the visitor is invited to sit on a shelf and take some time to think, breathe and consider.


The plants, curated by Jin Ahn, will be taken home by visitors towards the end of the exhibition, in the true spirit of sustainability and creation of new ideas and ways of connection. It is Khan’s hope that as our living spaces become increasingly small and constrained, that visitors will head to the installations to reconnect with fellow humans in a meaningful way in the wider world. A harking back, perhaps, to Victorian times, where cramped living conditions (in the days of larger families) meant that people issued forth to the great public parks to meet up, talk, work and collaborate.

17th–25th September: Opening Times

17  September: 10am–8pm
18  September: 10am–6pm
19  September: 8am–8pm
20  September: 8am–10pm
21  September: 8am–9pm
22  September: 8am–8pm
23  September: 8am–8pm
24  September: 10am–8pm
25  September: 10am–6pm


Photography courtesy of MINI Living 'Forests' by Asif Khan, as part of London Design Festival 2016, 17 – 25 September,

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