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Establishing “Boundaries”: London Festival of Architecture 2019

The biggest annual exhibition of its kind in the world, the London Festival of Architecture returned this month with a 400-event programme. Its mission is to support London’s architecture talent and promote positive change for the city


In the frenzy of metropolitan life, we often forget to stop, look around and appreciate the thought and beauty in the bricks and mortar surrounding us.

That’s why since 2004, the LFA has been championing London’s reputation as a global hub for architecture. And this month, it has rolled into town once again to host a series of tours, workshops and installations across the city, claiming to have “one of the richest programmes” in the festival’s history.

Every year there is a theme – in 2018, it was ‘Identity’, exploring Winston Churchill’s thesis about how “buildings shape us”.

This year, the theme is ‘Boundaries’. Tamsie Thomspon, Director of the London Festival of Architecture, feels there could hardly be a more appropriate topic to explore.

“Boundaries are fundamental to any discussion about London’s future. Should the city that long broke free of its Roman wall and engulfed ancient towns and villages remain constrained by the M25 and Green Belt? What about personal boundaries at the other end of the scale? These are just some of the questions posed by our theme this year.”

The innovation and insight behind each event at the LFA is a testament to the resurgence of British craftsmanship. After all, mastering the art of shape and structure is a trade we are renowned for.

From Zaha Hadid, the first woman to receive the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, to Sir John Soane, one of the most notable architects in British history, one thing is clear – our nation has long been a breeding ground for design talent.

At Sofa Workshop, we champion all forms of British craftsmanship, and as LFA 2019 redefines ‘boundaries’ from many different perspectives, there are a few key exhibitions that demonstrate the importance of having a strong foundation for your furniture.

Dulwich Pavilion 2019: The Colour Palace

Created by Pricegore architects and Yinka Ilori

A fusion of West African and European influences, the 10-metre high structure is inspired by the hustle and bustle of Nigerian markets, incorporating the symmetry, curves and angles seen in Sir John Soane’s iconic 1811 design of the Dulwich Picture Gallery. On a raised viewing platform, visitors can admire the brightly coloured timber slats that create an atrium, shifting when seen from different angles.

The structure echoes the strength of a colour and shape union, much like this Funk Boxes rug by Asiatic London.

City Benches: CITY BLOCKS

Created by Astrain Studio Architects

Commissioned by the City of London Corporation and Cheapside Business Alliance, these colourful interlocking geometric benches aim to add a sense of youthful playfulness to this area. It’s not just the shape of the CITY BLOCKS benches that are inspired by children’s play bricks, the flexibility of their arrangement is a direct translation of the architects’ goal to bring a sense of joy to their design.

In the same fashion, this coffee table from Danetti’s collection combines functionality with a funky shape to add zest to any interior.

Aristippian Structures

Team AIR Grid

Open for public viewing at University of Westminster’s Marylebone campus, the AIR Grid will be building a family of four Aristippian structures using a soft, animated lattice woven from embroidery thread. This will stimulate an optical effect where spatial boundaries appear animated, change direction, dissolve and re-emerge. Inspired by Socratic philosopher Aristippus, the construction shines a light on the indestructibility of geometrical figures.

Our Halo and Hex footstool at Sofa Workshop are also reminiscent of this indestructibility.

With events taking place across the whole of the city until the 30th of June, and plenty of significant builds to explore, the London Festival of Architecture is a hub of creativity for everyone that visits.

Share your LFA favourites with us on Instagram by tagging us in your photos, or for the full LFA programme, click here.

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