Ask any interior decorator how to jazz up a space. Most likely she'll say, "Add a pop of color." Furthermore, if you want to generate a quick yet effective retail buzz, open a pop-up shop.
Architects Haworth Tompkins (in a collaboration with theatre consultants Charcoalblue) combined both of those concepts at London's South Bank to create The Shed— a vibrant [pop-up] performing arts venue. Constructed in 18 weeks, the fiery structure adds spice to a monochromatic strip of gray, often made grayer by the city's iconically unfailing overcast.
The bright red color is fitting for The Shed, as the temporary venue plans to showcase endeavors that mirror its facade: artistic works imbued with passion, originality and whimsy. Acting as the interim replacement for the National Theatre's Cottesloe (while it undergoes redevelopment), The Shed, with its 225 seats, will intimately house an array of talented performances across genres (priced moderately at £12 and £20). By combining raw, fresh talent with unexpected elements, the National Theatre hopes this venture will change the way theatre is produced as well as experienced.
ith its sawn-timber exterior, plywood and steel interior, and a name that evokes rustic, agricultural living, it comes as no surprise that The Shed is 100% recyclable. This was intentional on the part of the architects, seeing as the structure will only stand for 1 year.
It always excites me to see a city invest in an innovative, albeit temporary, structure (Back in 2009 it was Prada, who commissioned a temporary installation in Seoul [South Korea] called The Transformer— a building that changed its shape to suit one of four different functions). It is fearless ideas like these that bring attention and acclaim to cities. It's refreshing to see that London, a city so richly embellished with history and tradition, is embracing what's new, now and next.
If you plan to visit London within the year, or if you're a resident— especially if you're a resident— check out The Shed, and enjoy not only its artful & theatrical productions, but also the 18 months-worth of production it took to craft this vivid and inspired, yet impermanent space.
Images by Philip Vile, courtesy of National Theatre.