Universal Design Studio creates venue for London’s Frieze Art Fair

London-based Universal Design Studio has built an entrance pavilion and a vast temporary structure to house the Frieze Art Fair, taking place in Regent’s Park this week (+ slideshow).

After designing last year’s site, Universal Design Studio – design duo Barber and Osgerby‘s architecture firm – returned to create the venue for Frieze London 2015, which opens to the public today.

The black sign used to mark the fair each year has been enlarged to form an entry pavilion in front of the main tent.

Designed to provide a sheltered entrance among the trees, the steel, board and aluminium structure is covered with a membrane – the same technique used to build the larger white tent behind.

The studio wanted to bring elements of the park into the venue, so worked with Hattie Fox of Shoreditch-based That Flower Shop to install planting in various locations inside.

“We were keen to find ways of bringing the park in to the fair,” said Universal Design Studio director Jason Holley.

“We achieved this by creating an entrance experience which is in dialogue with the tree canopy, framing and drawing attention to the transition between the park and Frieze, and through the creation of windows within the restaurant areas that offer glimpses into the park.”

“We are also incorporating planters throughout the fair which are carefully curated arrangements of plants that directly reference the type of planting found in the park,” he added.

Beneath the pitched roof of the main tent, the space is predominantly taken up by the booths of international galleries presenting art, sculpture, photography and furniture pieces.

Universal Design Studio’s previous projects include the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and a Mulberry store in Manchester. The firm’s aim for the Frieze masterplan was to “balance the overall experience so that the quality of the space matches that of the art work”.

“Much of our focus in this respect has been on creating a logical flow around the fair, with widened aisles, connections and turning points – punctuating the journey with the formation of pause points – moments of change,” said director Hannah Carter-Owers.

“The galleries are doing a huge volume of business at the fair and there needs to be consideration to how people and galleries work within the space.”

A restaurant is housed on a mezzanine level overlooking the exhibition space and a bar area is situated underneath.

Another new edition to the layout is a reading room, which will include a wide range of arts publications and host live events during the fair.

Frieze London takes place from 14 to 17 October 2015. Previous editions of the fair, which takes place annually in the UK and New York, have featured structures by architecture studios SO-IL and Carmody Groarke.

Photography is by Andrew Meredith.

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