London’s Largest Living Room takes up residence in Somerset House during the London Festival of Architecture 2008

Londoners will find a home away from home on the Strand this summer when London’s Largest Living Room moves in to Somerset House to launch the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) 2008.

Between the 20th and 22nd of June, visitors to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House will find it transformed with a full suite of oversized furniture on a massive, colourful carpet, and will be invited, free of charge, to make themselves at home.

Designed by up-and-coming practice Studio Weave and adorned with a pattern by fashion favourites Eley Kishimoto, the furniture comprises plywood cut out versions of sofas, armchairs, bookshelves and lamps. All this rests on the Living Room carpet, designed by cutting-edge graphic designer Studio Myerscough, using carpet tiles generously donated by Desso. By taking these domestic items out into the public realm, London’s Largest Living Room invites members of the public to think about the city landscape as their home, and consider how we could better use the often neglected open spaces around us.

Jointly produced by Design for London and the London Festival of Architecture with creative direction by Gerrard O’Carroll, London’s Largest Living Room will also play host to the private opening on the evening of the June 19th, when the LFA 2008 will be launched by Mayor Boris Johnson. Upon leaving Somerset House, the furniture will be used to temporarily transform key public spaces across London, through to the close of the Festival on July 20th.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, says “London has an architectural heritage which is second to none. What’s great about the Festival and installations such as London’s Largest Living Room is that it offers Londoners fresh perspectives on our architecture and public realm and invites people to enjoy and interpret all that our magnificent city has to offer.”

A collaboration between some of London’s greatest designers and manufacturers, London’s Largest Living Room is sponsored by Pipers and SIV Architectural Recruitment. The LFA opening party on the June 19th is sponsored by AECOM.

Peter Bishop, director of Design for London, says, “London has so many wonderful public spaces, but we rarely take the time to stop and notice them, let alone to really enjoy them. These designs will help us to take a moment to relax in the city, and will hopefully inspire Londoners to think how the city as whole can be an extension of their home, and should be just as comfortable.”

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, Arts Council England, London, said: “It is through installations like this that we can help bring the work of artists, architects and designers to more people, encouraging them to take a fresh look at what’s around them. What better way for Londoners to think about the environment than to physically and mentally kick off their shoes, climb onto an outdoor armchair and contemplate what’s great and what’s not about the city.”

Peter Murray, director of the London Festival of Architecture, says, “This year’s London Festival of Architecture is the biggest of its kind in the world, so it’s fitting that we can launch it by bringing London’s Largest Living Room to the public. The project is a great celebration of what the Festival stands for taking time to get to know the city so that we can create an environment that works for everyone.”