Lasting impact

Goodness September is busy, with all the flurry of the London Design Festival, stuff happening everywhere. For a journalist, if you are so inclined, you can get through at least a week on booze and canapes and slightly pretentious conversations about stuff that nobody really needs. And, of course, there are some real gems.

It might feel extravagant to build a massive structure as AHEC has done, and then take it away again. But The Smile, designed by Alison Brooks with Arup, is the opposite of rash. Its elements will go back to Zueblin, the manufacturer that made it, and the structure, while intriguing and crowd-pleasing is anything but a folly.


It is a demonstration of a new material, of tulipwood CLT, which has actually been manufactured by a real live manufacturer, which will also be using it in another, permanent building. It is, quite possibly, a bit of a game changer. And beautiful, and elegant and fun, and all those September things as well.

Welcome to autumn.

Ruth Slavid

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