ARCHITECT@WORK, the annual curated two-day architectural trade fair, had its fifth successful showing at Olympia National Hall on 25th and 26th January, with 1,972 architects, specifiers and designers attending, a 30 per cent rise in footfall from 2016.
Over 100 leading European architectural suppliers showed their innovative new products and offered up the latest innovations in surface solutions, lighting technology as well as interior and exterior fixtures and fittings. All exhibitors went through a rigorous selection process, with an external judging panel overseeing the product selection, to ensure that this is one of the UK’s most highly respected trade shows of its kind.
One of the most popular elements of the show was the talks programme, which saw hundreds of people attend to see big names such as Roger Ridsdill Smith, Foster+Partners; Julia Barfield, Marks Barfield, Jonathan McDowell, Matter Architecture and Ben Addy, Moxon Architects discuss what happens when the bridge becomes the focus of attention, rather than its landing points or the gap it spans.
Design driven by natural forces was chaired by Eleanor Young of RIBA Journal, and involved Ana Abram, Gustafson Porter; Jerry Tate, Tate Harmer; Michael Pawlyn, Exploration Architecture; and James Todd, Architype. They discussed how all design is affected by the elements (water, air, sunlight and movements of the earth) but some practitioners choose to respond more closely than others.
In the British Land interview Peter Murray of New London Architecture interviewed Roger Madelin, Head of Canada Water Development at British Land about past projects and the future development of the capital.
Carl Turner of Carl Turner Architects gave a fascinating talk, hosted by journalist Clare Dowdy, about how cities and towns develop on limited land, and the effect climate change brings to the future of design along rivers, lakes and canals.
Alex Ely, Mae Architects; Peter Chowns, Canal and River Trust; and Steve Webb, Webb Yates and Interrobang discussed the resurgence of living on the water, and how our canals and rivers are becoming the focus of debate and a hotbed of development. Journalist Clare Dowdy, chaired. The Argent interview saw journalist David Michon speak to Tom Goodall and Anthony Peter from Argent about how King’s Cross has become a byword for successful development in London. Argent discussed how high-quality buildings, a long-term approach to infrastructure and an intelligent approach to phasing can create a destination that becomes a focus for public life. To honour the show’s theme of water, the SCIN GALLERY presented ‘Wateration’ focusing on how water is used an imitated in design. The exhibition showcased every aspect. from elements that come from water, such as seaweed, to materials that repel water used in coatings and paints.
Another talking point at this year’s show was the Matière grise (GREY MATTER, Materials, Reuse, Architecture) exhibition by Pavillon de l’Arsenal which urged the construction trade to use more “grey matter” to use fewer raw materials. Architects Julien Choppin and Nicola Delon from the Encore Heureux architectural design agency showcased global projects which were built, in full or in part, with reclaimed building materials.
The Sweetlove penguins proved popular on social media. At the beginning of December 2016, artist William Sweetlove and Cape Town Art Agency (CTAA) placed penguin sculptures in Antarctica as a temporary installation to create awareness of environmental issues. The sculptures have now been returned to Cape Town where they will be auctioned off for a good cause.
Another social media hit was the Innovative Interview series. Ahead of the show UK-based design and architectural journalist Giovanna Dunmall conducted interviews with architects, developers and engineers asking them to reflect on everything from their current projects to which designer they would most like to sit next to at dinner.
This year’s RIBA Pop Up Book Shop for Architects and Designers was also tremendously popular with the crowd, with one architect commenting, “We’re drawn to this like flies. It’s hard to leave without making a purchased.” The next edition of
ARCHITECT@WORK UK will be held 24-25 January 2018.