This June in London, there’s more than just Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and the London Eye to ogle–you can also go see the moon.
But it’s not in the sky. As part of the annual London Festival of Architecture, a 23-foot inflated scale replica of the moon created using NASA photographs will descend on Greenwich Park this weekend. The installation, called Museum of the Moon, is the work of the British artist Luke Jerram, who’s already displayed it at several festivals in smaller cities in the U.K. and Europe. But in London, it’ll also be accompanied by a sound composition featuring archival audio from moon landings, created by the composer Dan Jones.
When floating in space, the moon looks ethereal–and almost hyperreal. That’s because it depicts the lunar surface at 120 dpi–which is about medium resolution for ordinary images, but for close-ups of the moon seems impressive. One centimeter on the inflated moon model represents five kilometers of the actual moon’s surface.
After its installation in London, Museum of the Moon will spend the next few months traveling to Rennes, France, Birmingham, U.K., and Enschede, Netherlands, spending anywhere from a few days to a month in each location before moving on.
The Museum of the Moon isn’t the only installation transforming the city during the festival, which runs through nearly the entire month of June. At the Battersea Power Station, an intricate octahedral sculpture called Entwine uses layers of curved plywood that are held together entirely with tension. The artists Lianne Clark and Tim Hornsby compare this principle of tensegrity, in which components are held in suspension because of the overall tension of the structure, to the nature of memory–all interrelated and dependent, but coming together to form the core of a person.
Also on view is a series of highly detailed sandcastles built by three different architects. The firm vPPR created a model of Aldo Rossi’s Lighthouse Theater, which was originally built in 1987, in London’s Tavistock Square. In front of the Design Museum, the architect and designer Asif Khan created a cross-section of an ancient, 1,200-year-old Indian stepwell called Chand Baori, which stored water in a dry area for centuries. Nex Architecture created a spiral tower in sand as an ode to the naturalist and collector Sir Hans Sloane, who collected shells, in the Duke of York Square, where his statue now stands.
Other installations are more interactive. The Poplar Pavilion, by the artist Alex Julyan, is a series of unfinished structures that will be built over the next few months with input from the neighborhood in which it is situated. Julyan decided to plant trees as part of making the space a welcoming place, which ended up drawing people to the space to contribute to a conversation about how the city is changing. “The response to this process has been overwhelmingly positive, so many people are ready to talk, discuss and inhabit the space as well as their broader architectural environment and thoughts on wellbeing,” Julyan tells Co.Design in an email. “It seems that the pavilion speaks for itself and the moment the trees were planted, the space was used. Many people are anxious about the changes in their area and in their city in general, many have expressed a sense of being excluded from meaningful conversations about their environment.”
Meanwhile, yet another festival installation asks visitors to interact in an entirely different way–it’s meant to be eaten. Feast on London’s Memory, a striking three-dimensional sculpture by the artist Constanze Schweda, is composed entirely of rice paper. Its form is based changes to London’s map, and it’s meant to represent the transforming landscape of London as a city. At the end of the week, anyone (in London, that is) is invited to quite literally eat their way through the rice paper sculpture. It’s the epitome of consumable art.