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Arup's wooden London Design Festival centrepiece

the smile source arup

A cross-laminated timber structure is to serve as a centrepiece for the London Design Festival.

A wooden ”smile” will greet visitors to the Chelsea College of Arts from late September. The structure is an urban installation that will showcase the structural and spatial potential for cross-laminated hardwood. 

The Smile brings together Alison Brooks Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council and Arup for the London Design Festival. 

At 3.5m high, 4.5m wide and 34m long the rectangular tube is intended to show off the spatial potential for American hardwood.

Alison Brooks said: “Entering The Smile through an opening where the curved form meets the ground, the visitor can walk from end to end of the 34-metre-long tube to discover a new kind of space that gradually rises toward light. All four sides of The Smile’s interior will be made of [the] same beautiful hardwood panels as the structure. It will offer a complete sensory experience of colour, texture, scent and sounds. The Smile’s two open ends will illuminate the funnel-like interior space and act as balconies to the city.”

smile 2 source arup


Source: Arup

Arup associate director Andrew Lawrence said: “The Smile is the most challenging structure ever constructed in CLT. Every aspect is pushed to the absolute limit. It really shows the potential for hardwoods in construction.”

smile 3 source arup


Source: Arup

The structure will be on display  from 17 September until 12 October in the Roostein Hopkins Parade Ground at the Chelsea College of Arts.




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