Down the rabbit hole

Walk past fashion store Banana Republic’s window on London’s Regent Street and you might find it not much to look at. But adjust your angle slightly, and your gaze will tumble down a visual rabbit hole to a reflection of the busy street behind you.

Detail of Banana Republic's window collaboration with Moxon Architects
Detail of Banana Republic’s window collaboration with Moxon Architects

The shop window is filled with sheets of translucent material, creating a vertical maze of layering and light, allowing just the odd glimpse of the massive ‘sale’ sign behind. Holes in the layers create voids that allow unexpected views of passing shoppers and traffic, reflected through mirrors.

The installation is part of a project for the London Festival of Architecture, which launches tomorrow. Devised by Riba London and the Regent Street Association, it sees five Regent Street stores collaborate with five London architects.

Sketch for Hawkins Brown's Oasis window
Sketch for Hawkins Brown’s Oasis window

Oasis window designed by Hawkins Brown
Oasis window designed by Hawkins Brown

Banana Republic teamed up with Moxon Architects to create its intriguing display. Oasis, meanwhile, collaborated with Hawkins Brown and artists Bob and Roberta Smith on a window that explores the theme of bio-sustainability and creating an ‘oasis’ in the city. The display uses scrap materials, beehives, real lavender and personalised signage to highlight the plight of the honey bee and the importance of bio-diversity in the city.

Detail of rotating cubes in the COS window  designed with Spacelab
Detail of rotating cubes in the COS window designed with Spacelab

Cos worked with Spacelab to experiment with depth, scale, perspective and methods of visual communication. The window features rotating cardboard boxes, creating alternating patterns to ‘stimulate the connections between architecture, fashion and the public’.

Austin Reed window by Tonkin Liu and Arup
Austin Reed window by Tonkin Liu and Arup

Tonkin Liu and Arup helped Austin Reed create a shell lace structure that apparently ‘explores how tailoring can inform the creation of architectural forms’.

Design for Anthropologie's window by Sarah Wigglesworth
Design for Anthropologie’s window by Sarah Wigglesworth

Earlier today, Anthropologie was in the process of creating its London scene display, an enchanting scene made of London detritus – cut out and collaged – to reimagine a welcoming city.

Launched as part of the Nash Ramblas events for LFA, which celebrate John Nash, the architect who developed Regent Street in the early 19th century, the windows are worth peek – whether you fancy paying tribute to the honey bee or disappearing down a rabbit hole.

The London Festival of Architecture 2010 takes place from 19 June to 4 July

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