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The Smile at Chelsea, part of London Design Festival


Written by
Published date
13 September 2016

As part of this year’s London Design Festival, Chelsea College of Arts’s Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground will host Alison Brooks Architect’s The Smile, designed in collaboration with Arup. This 34m pavilion is one of six Landmark Projects, specially commissioned pieces of work created by some of the world’s greatest architects and designers, situated in London’s best-loved public spaces.

The London Design Festival features hundreds of events taking place across London, showcasing the city’s pivotal role in global design.

This temporary structure will stand virtually motionless in the college’s open-air display space opposite Tate Britain, despite two swooping, curved 12m cantilevered sections that create the illusion of instability. Made entirely with hardwood cross-laminated timber, The Smile will invite visitors to enter a ‘weightless funnel of space’ with two ramps leading up to open apertures that frame views of the sky and college. Perforations in the wood walls will bring in dappled sunlight. At night, when the interior is lit up, the pavilion ‘turns into a giant lantern,’ says architect Brooks.

Find out more:

Open to the Public:

16 to 25 September then 30 September t0 12 October

If you’d like to find out about all of the other exciting events taking place across the city as part of the London Design Festival, please visit their website:

Supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, Arup, Züblin Timber, Seam, Atrium