house of flags an installation celebrating multicultural london
house of flags   an installation celebrating multicultural london 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

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