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Universal Design Studio's Frieze London Architecture

A new entryway and restaurant reconfigurations at the art fair's pop-up home

by David Graver
on 09 October 2017

As the art world shifted its attention to London last week, and descended upon the Frieze London art fair, many guests casually walked through the doors without considering the structure itself. For the fourth year in a row, design and architectural firm Universal Design Studio helmed the project. Also known for their work at Stockholm's recently opened At Six design hotel and the Ace Hotel London, Universal Design Studio did more than masterplan the 24,500-square-meter pop-up facility in Regent's Park; they re-conceived the entryway installation, employed "borrowed" materials, and unveiled new restaurant interior concepts. This is an organization tasked with housing untold treasures and making it all intuitive and navigable to visitors. It's no small feat.

The two restaurants were framed and color-coded, more or less to reflect the originality housed within. The entrance, however, requires more consideration. All of the aluminum was donated by SAPA UK and will be recycled after the fair. The installation components, constructed by Joseph Waller Fabrications, allude to what's within while referencing those passing by through warped reflections. "We have designed the entrance installation from materials that directly reference the structures which house these important artworks, whilst drawing attention back to the beauty of Regent's Park," Richard McConkey, Associate Director of Universal Design Studio explains. "We were interested in using a material that is in a state of change, which seems fitting for a temporary global art fair." Remarkably, the fair structure itself is also crafted from aluminum—some 400 tons of it. Frieze has come to an end, as has the structure that housed it all—a place that, for a few days, buzzed with life.

Images courtesy of Andrew Meredith

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