Our increased attention towards nature became a widely discussed topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdowns, we left nature to its own devices and had much more time to observe our surroundings. The origin of the virus also made us consider how far we humans have intruded into nature’s realm. The awareness and research into our negative impact on the climate and eco systems, of course, far predates the pandemic. COP26, the climate summit in Glasgow in November this year has been planned for a long time and we know that is has to bring about decisive changes.
Many people, including us at the Goethe-Institut, would like to emerge from the pandemic with a different attitude to nature - one that values repair and protection, and addresses global exploitation and destruction. We are excited to launch a series of artworks and collaborations on this topic.
#ExRdFest from October 9th to 15th: A green Great Exhibition Road Fest (GERF) @EXRD
Can art and science help inspire a greener future for the planet we share? We're happy to be part of the free annual Great Exhibition Road Festival in South Kensington and online from 9-15 October to celebrate our remarkable world and to explore how together we can protect its future against the imminent threat of climate change.
Discover a week of free events for all ages in South Kensington and online. Featuring creative workshops, talks, tours and exhibitions from museums, research and culture organisations based in and around Exhibition Road, the Festival brings together scientists, artists, designers and innovators to discuss solutions to the climate emergency.
At this critical time for our planet, with the UK preparing to host the most important climate summit since the landmark Paris Agreement was signed, we invite you to imagine the road to a better future. See what actions – both big and small – we can take in our own lives to care for nature and how we can join together to give a voice to our planet, from community projects to global action.
The Goethe-Institut London is participating with a panel on climate, a film screening, #German taster lessons and workshops on upcycling, sustainability and green infrastructure, influenced by our #GoingGreen and #SouthKenGreenTrail installatins "Windflower" and "Foodbank for the Pollinators" by Urban Radicals, Adam Harris and Natalie Taylor. We're excited to see you!
Following a competition in May hosted by Discover South Kensington, the V&A, the Science Museum, the Goethe-Institut and the London Festival of Architecture, three different design teams were invited to create innovative installations, to “un-pave” the way for introducing more biodiversity into the cultural district of South Kensington. It also aims to support eco-initiatives, such as the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Bee Superhighway. The installations under the name #SouthKenGreenTrail can be seen from the 23rd of July onward. Visitors are welcomed to explore and enjoy them throughout the Summer and Autumn until the Great Exhibition Rood Festival, which will take place from the 9th until the 15th of October.
#rediscoversouthken #goinggreen #SouthKenGreenTrail
The winners of the "Three green interventions" are:
#Windflower Intervention @EXRD: Urban Radicals with Adam Harris
Windflower outside the Goethe-Institut London by Urban Radicals with Adam Harris features a modified and re-purposed decommissioned wind turbine blade bringing the scale and surprising beauty of this mega-structure into the city centre. This is planted with wildflowers to attract pollinators while allowing visitors to walk through, sit on or enjoy it.
Statements by Urban Radicals:
"A mysterious forest creature, an opaque cloud expanding the garden's presence into the public realm".
“An absolutely wonderful project implemented in the area, which aims to bring together a beautiful sculpture - architecture, engineering, landscape, people under the theme of care. Carefully rethinking and redesigning possibilities for our future green infrastructure and our cities".
"Raising awareness and ultimately offering a solution for the afterlife of a wind turbine the installation will modify and re-purpose the decommissioned blade and reconfigure it as a “stepping stone”, an interactive sculpture. Planted with herbs and vegetation the installation will attract biodiversity and bees whilst allowing the visitor to walk through, sit on and enjoy".
"With COP26 on the horizon and almost two centuries down the line since the Great Exhibition, the 2050 global climate action foresees a clean, lean and efficient future in the way we build our cities and our environments. Not only do we need to follow new protocols for putting new infrastructures and homes up, but we need to radically rethink how to re-use our buildings and upcycle components".
Urban Radicals started out in 2019 as a duo between architect Nasios Varnavas and designer Era Savvides with the ambition to form a network of collaborators, to solve problems across contexts and scales. The studio has grown through projects, competitions, workshops, stories, painting, parties, dinners, fishing trips, walks, gatherings and conversations. Nasios and Era believe that by working across disciplines and through the broad skillset and perspectives of its expansive team, the studio is able to generate rich, impactful projects, rooted in place and context. As a collective, Urban Radicals examines architecture from a variety of perspectives – economy, ecology, storytelling, community, and craft. More recently, Nasios and Era have been selected to design and co-curate the National Participation for Cyprus at the 17th Architecture Biennale in Venice.
For our #SouthKenGreenTrail #Goinggreen initiative, Urban Radicals is collaborating with Adam Harris – landscape architect and project manager at Millimetre. Adam is passionate about native wildflower species and creating spaces that increase biodiversity in an urban setting and believes that by developing our connection to natural processes, we benefit both our cities and well-being. The team is also working with specialist wind energy consultants – Aerotrope, founded by Chris Hornzee-Jones.