POPULAR TODAY ARCHITECTURE

house of flags   an installation celebrating multicultural london
sep 11, 2012
house of flags an installation celebrating multicultural london


‘house of flags’ by ay architects located on parliament square in london
image © nick kane

london-based firm ay architects conceived ‘house of flags’ – an installation that paid honor to the diversity of all the countries
that participated in the 2012 olympics and paralympics. made up of 206 panels – each one depicting the graphic of each flag –
the structure was located on parliament square and assembled like a large-scale jigsaw. the artwork effectively built a ‘
united house of symbols’, proudly exhibiting the matrix that makes up a portrait of multi-ethnic london. the piece – which
measured at 17m long x 8m wide x 4.5m high – acknowledged the world heritage area and highly political status of the square,
historically charged by rallies and demonstrations.

the design was composed of 206 FSC certified birch plywood panels and over 400 laminated connection elements – of which there were
8 different kinds – and stood on 42 pre-cast concrete foundational blocks. the icon of each flag was printed on the plywood panels
via a large format UV flat bed printer, which resulted in a sharp image on the timber grain surface. the rear of each flag unit was
exposed to show the natural finish of the wood. the boards were CNC cut and most of them featuring cut-outs of symbols and perforations.
the upper most pieces were deliberately made lighter by removing more material through these cut-outs and the bottom ones more
solid and therefore heavier.

the panels stacked like a house of cards with an alternating orientation from row to row, where the result was a complex network of color,
light and reflection set against the backdrop of the historic architecture – celebrating a community proudly defined by its multicultural identity.


the structure is made up of 206 FSC certified birch plywood panels – each one depicting the graphic of each flag
image © nick kane


the panels interlock like a puzzle
image © nick kane


the historical buildings served as a politically charged back drop for the installation
image © nick kane


the piece measured at 17m long x 8m wide x 4.5m high
image © nick kane


detail of the CNC cut panels
image © nick kane


the installation proudly exhibits the matrix that makes up a portrait of multi-ethnic london
image © nick kane


the panels featured perforations and cut-outs
image © yeoryia manolopoulou


the artwork showed the network of nations that participated in the olympics
image © nick kane


the flags of each country
image © AY architects


a diagrammatic articulation of the artwork proposal
image © AY architects


an illustrative plan of the installation
image © AY architects

project info:

architects: ay architects (yeoryia manolopoulou and anthony boulanger)
architectural assistants: lotte helle-valle and mark rist
structural engineer: tim marcot, price & myers
fabrication: grymsdyke farm
printing: signet signs
installation: bolt & heeks

comments policy
LOG IN VIA
login with designboom
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

product library