Asif Khan's "Forest's" Installation for MINI Living at LDF 2016

MINILiving Forest's installation in London.

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. 

Corrugated Polycarbonate with trees.
MINI Living Forest Installation in London.
Plant installation in London
Houseplants inside the MINILiving Forests installation.
Rubber plant or Ficus elastica.
Asif Khan's MINI Living Forest's installation.
Houseplants
Plants inside the architectural installation for MINILiving.
Plant installation in London
Plant installation in London
Architect Asif Khan outside his Connect Space. 

Architect Asif Khan outside his Connect Space

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 Create Space for London Design Festival 2016.
Plants in a row.
Squirrel amongst plant pots
Branches
bamboo
Variegated Fatsia Japonica leaves
Ivy plants in pots
Aluminium roof structure
Plant installation in London
Plant installation in London
Inside the Create Space at the London Design Festival 2016
Rubber flooring made from salvaged tyres

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. 

MINI Living installation at dusk
Fatsia Japonica
Plant installation in London at night
Horticulturist Jin Ahn amongst the plants in her shop, Conservatory Archives. 

Horticulturist Jin Ahn amongst the plants in her shop, Conservatory Archives. 

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. 

Relax Space of the Forest's installation by Asif Khan
Inside a plant-filled installation by Asif Khan
Philodendron scandens
Asif Khan MINI Living installation
Hanging plants
Philodendron scandens
Plant pots in a row
Plant installation in London

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. 

MINI Living : Your Side of Town

Asif Khan

Conservatory Archives