Between Forests and Skies

Nebbia Works, London, 2021


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All photographs by Ed Reeve/ Nebbia Works/ James Retief     Download Original

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An immersive, low-carbon aluminium pavilion and public space commissioned by the V&A as their centrepiece contribution to the London Design Festival 2022 with sponsorship by EN+.

It was installed in the museum’s John Madejski Garden followed by installation at COP26 and will be permanently put on public exhibition in mid-2022. The pavilion was completely free to visit for all members of the public.

The project showcases a technological breakthrough in aluminium production by EN+ to reduce its carbon emissions by 85 per cent. Conscious of the legacy of temporary pavilions the structure is 100 per cent recyclable at the end of its life.

The innovative design uses a minimal volume of material to create a seemingly delicate yet robust structure to demonstrate the unique qualities of aluminium. Working with sheet material and through minimal cuts and bends, the design transforms a 2D object into a complex 3D space. Using aluminium’s innate strength, coupled with algorithmically solved leg positions, allowed for a self-supporting structure that lands onto the ground with as minimal impact as possible. It is formally a pure product and representation of its fabrication and structural system.

The resulting space is a manufactured forest of reflections suspended between the sky and the water. The space frames, obscures and reflects its environment. Natural light streams through openings in the canopy creating a dramatic contrast of shadow, light and reflection from the water below. The structure appears to float in the iconic pond in the John Madejski Garden. It is intended to be both observed and explored, with visitors able to enter and interact with the installation.

Annual CO2 data was not provided (material, fabrication and installation emissions = 17 tonnes)


  • Begun: Sep 2021
  • Completed: Sep 2021
  • Floor area: 121m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £200,000
  • Funding: Sponsorship
  • Tender date: Apr 2021
  • Procurement: JCT minor works with CDP
  • Address: The Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2RL, United Kingdom

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