Five things to see in August

More than 30 avant-garde structures are colonising the city's public spaces, with incredible installations created by architects, artists, designers, and engineers from colleges. Plus London’s latest popup shops and exhibitions
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Colourful inflatable cushions

1. POP!

Open now until October 27 at the Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 (020 7407 8664;

See how pop permeated British design, fashion and graphics in Sixties and Seventies. There are frocks from Quant, fabrics by Conran and Portmeirion pottery by Susan Williams Ellis.

A rash of Union Jacks on trays, tins, mugs and even a shirt evoke today's Jubilee souvenirs. There's also paper furniture, a Coca-Cola radio, a Sputnik TV, and an early "knockdown" chair.

But most fun are these colourful inflatable cushions and a witty 1958 British coffee table in the shape of a grand piano.


Open now until September 23 Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 (020 78878752; and

Bridging art and design is Little Sun, an installation masterminded by Icelandic-Danish Olafur Eliasson.

Working with engineer Frederick Ottesen, the artist has created Little Sun solar-powered lights — bright yellow and about the size of your palm, with jaunty rays giving five hours of light if charged outside for five hours.

The aim is to highlight the plight of the 1.6 billion people worldwide who live without mains electricity. Little Sun provides light for studying, sharing and cooking, says Eliasson.

A gallery on the third floor explains the potential of solar power, and offers "light graffiti" using a Little Sun.

Or buy a lamp for £15.50 and book for a late-night blackout with only Little Suns to guide you around (evenings of August 4, 11 and 18).

Sunflower umbrella


A pop-up shop at 38 Monmouth Street, WC2. Open now until September 30 (

Celebrating London design this month is this jaunty corner shop, run by the influential web magazine Dezeen, popping-up in Covent Garden until the end of next month.

At the top end, and just arrived, are Lee Broom's exquisite cut crystal LED light bulbs made in Cumbria (£109) and Jasper Morrison's sleek, easy-to-use home phone for Punkt in red, white or black (£169).

Umbrellas by Ella Doran, in sunflower and leaf designs, will remind you of sunnier days during this changeable summer.


August 17-19 at 32 Cremer Street, E2 (07967 458492;

"Every story leaves its trace on a building," say London designers Donna Walker and Talulah Mason.

They've taken a Victorian pub, the Marquis of Lansdowne (opposite the new Hoxton Overground station) and, after painstaking research in local archives, "brought it alive" via a bevy of contemporary artists.

On sale is the work of about 50 London designers and craftspeople. Find stools crafted from rescued wood (Hendzel & Hunt), exquisite porcelain table lamps (Makiko Nakamura), exotic bottles (Katie Spragg), and even a magnificent cardboard stag's head from Superfauna.

Pink installation


Open now until September 10 all over town (

Commissioned by the Mayor to celebrate Olympic London, more than 30 avant-garde structures are colonising the city's public spaces, with incredible installations created by architects, artists, designers, and engineers from colleges including Westminster University and Bartlett UCL.

Free to explore and experience, you will know one when you see one — some strange/futuristic/colourful shape with a novel purpose.

For example, sit inside the "Alga(e)zebo" a cut-metal gazebo in Euston Square Gardens, NW1, and enjoy the play of shadows and unusual views of its organic branching shapes.

Help build and modify the playful Bloom pavilions in Trafalgar Square and east London's Victoria Park, making "flowers", a chair, or a canopy. This "social toy" works a bit like Fuzzy Felt.

Also in Victoria Park is the huge Universal Tea Machine — as long as a double-decker bus, it's a cross between a computer and a pinball machine that marks Britain's love of technology, and of tea. Pull levers, release balls and see what kind of cuppa you made.

There are more spinning balls — and the chance to play music — at King's Cross station, where you can manipulate the giant Songboard.

The trees in Leicester Square are getting medals, and giant modular seating is on the South Bank.

The installations are all described/ mapped on the website but you won't really understand a lot of them until you try them out.

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