Mini Jungles Are Popping Up In East London

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 23 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Mini Jungles Are Popping Up In East London
The verdant installation in Charles Square.

If you're around Old Street at the moment, you may come across these strange plastic looking structures. Make sure to explore them because inside each one is an oasis of calm.

They are part of the London Design Festival, and this project is the brainchild of architect Asif Khan, who designed one of the Serpentine summer houses.

The smallest one of the three looks strange from the outside with only the legs of the people inside visible.

The smallest one outside the Sainsbury's on Old Street looks rather alien from the outside, with its opaque outer shell. But duck under the outside and raise your head to be surrounded by plants, with the addition of a little ledge that people can sit on.

Here's what greets people on the inside.

Just down the road towards the station is a slightly bigger installation. Again stepping inside surrounds visitors with plants, but this time there is more seating and the hope is people will sit down to catch up, or just relax and shut themselves off from the noisy road mere metres away.

Out on Old Street is a nice oasis for catching up.

The final space is away from the main road, in Charles Square Gardens. In this one, the plants remain on the outside of the structure while people can sit inside on a mulched surface that looks a little like soil, but feels much more rubbery.

The space in use and filled with an assortment of journalists.

The aim is that people will be allowed to take some of the smaller pots home with them, but visitors are also encouraged to bring the plants they no longer want so that the space evolves during its short run.

It's a great idea to offer these spaces of respite away from the hectic Old Street. However, we do have some concerns that they will be in high demand and the amount of people wanting to use these spaces may mean they become a lot less relaxing — it's never easy to chill when you know there are several people waiting for their turn.

Mini Living 'Forests' by Asif Khan will be open from 17-25 September. The three sites  are in Vince Court, Charles Square Gardens and the corner of Charles Square and Pitfield street. All are free to use.

Fans of design should also check out the fantastic London Design Biennale at Somerset House.

Last Updated 16 September 2016