The Imagine Children’s Festival

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
Festival Control HQ featuring weather machine

Designs for the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival have been drawn from the boundlessly imaginative minds of children who will  be running it from their own HQ, which includes a ball pit to interview authors in, and appears to be stocked with a marshmallow vending machine.

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit

The festival HQ, known as Festival Control, is being run by children from local state schools who are calling themselves the Festival Ideas Cloud.

They have worked with architecture and design practice Lyn Atelier on the design and build of Festival Control, and with illustrator Jon Burgerman to communicate the look of the festival.

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
Jon Burgerman has worked with the Festival Ideas Cloud children on festival branding

Festival Control includes a machine which allows children to ‘control’, the weather. By pressing the ‘sun’ button a screen lights up, ‘wind’ makes air blow from the bottom of the machine, and ‘fog’ emits a haze.

To keep everything safe, instead of lockers, the children hoist their possessions to the top of the structure on pulleys.

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
Children worked with Lyn Atelier on Festival Control where their belongings can be hoisted on pulleys

The kids enter and exit via a tunnel, and on the outside of Festival Control, there’s a library for visiting children and a listings board, which is managed and updated by the Festival Ideas Cloud team.

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
The entrance tunnel

Meanwhile Burgerman has worked with the Festival Ideas Cloud children, each of whom has designed their own monster or character which Burgerman has drawn elements from to work into a final six characters to front the marketing campaign.

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
Jon Burgerman works up the children’s ideas

They’re appearing on posters across London and around the 21-acre Southbank Centre site where 8-foot vinyls cover the windows at the front of Royal Festival Hall, above the Queen Elizabeth Hall entrance, throughout the interiors, and on the website

Festival Control HQ featuring listening post from author interviews in the ball pit
The final six characters

The Imagine Children’s Festival, which includes a Dinosaur Petting Zoo, runs until 24 February at the Southbank Centre, London SE1.

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