Asif Khan's "Forest's" Installation for MINI Living at LDF 2016
Last weekend we hopped on a train as we'd been invited by MINI to see Asif Khan's "Forest's" installation that had been created especially at London Design Festival as part of the MINI Living programme. The installation consisted of three small structures placed in Shoreditch and each addressed a different aspect of city living.
The first that we encountered was the Connect Space which was viewable from Old Street and drew us inside and down a narrow corridor, rewarded our bravery with a comfortable seat and encouraged us to interact with other curious members of the public.
Working with horticulturist Jin Ahn (you might know her London-based shop, Conservatory Archives) Asif gave each space an individual character by choosing certain planting to bring it to life. The Connect Space was packed full of houseplants; Ficus elastica, Schefflera and those huge Philodendron selloum leaves, all of which a) transported us to somewhere a bit more exotic than East London and b) gave us plenty to talk about with the other visitors to the space.
Around the corner in Charles Square we found another pavilion; the Create Space. Although constructed from the same materials (all three consisted of corrugated polycarbonate sheeting around an aluminium frame) this structure became a hive of activity - albeit quiet activity. Inside we sat on tiered seating made from shredded tyres, Instagrammed our pictures using the WiFi and watched sketches come to life over the shoulders of the spaces' inhabitants.
The planting here appealed to us because it felt familiar; grasses, Bamboo and Fatsia japonica made soft silhouettes against the translucent walls and brought the outside in. In here we felt as though we ought to whisper and the overall sense of it felt like a library - full of study and observation.
As dusk drew in the lighting made the spaces glow from within.
The third space that we encountered on our Shoreditch adventure was a tall thin structure named the Relax Space. This installation invited us in via a rubber ramp and provided a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. We dangled our tired legs from the raised platform and our eyes were drawn upwards by the hanging vines of Cissus rotundifolia.
The three spaces were created to encourage us to find inspiration in different parts of the city; to turn the in-between parts of our lives into places with new purpose and to motivate us to blur the line between work and play, home and office.
Obviously we loved that plants were such a huge aspect of this work. We believe that a connection with nature is essential in daily life in whatever capacity works for the individual and we loved seeing these spaces come to life through that connection.