As the nights get lighter, we take a look at what designers have created for the various events in summer 2022, from the Commonwealth Games to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to a celebration of architecture at the Serpentine pavilion.
by Helen Parton
After two years of pandemic-induced pause, summer 2022 is a time when people can finally fully reconnect with each other and the built environment around them.
Tree of Trees designed by Thomas Heatherwick features 350 native British trees. Image © Jonathan Banks
Kickstarting this grand reopening was the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the beginning of June. This celebration to mark the Queen’s seventy years as UK monarch meant a chance to gather at street parties or simply view the pageantry on TV across the extended national holiday. One of the most memorable moments was undoubtedly Tree of Trees. This 21-metre sculpture was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, made of new and recycled steel and featuring 350 British native trees set in aluminium pots. It is part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative which has so far inspired the planting of over a million trees. Thomas Heatherwick says, “The structure is coming together from workshops and nurseries across the country as one part of an incredible community campaign that’s literally changing the landscape of our nation.” Featuring a network of LEDs, Tree of Trees was also part of the Jubliee’s Beacons ceremony which saw over two thousand beacons lit across the UK. The trees will be stored over the summer, ahead of distribution at the start of the planting season in October.
Serpentine Pavilion 2022 designed by Theaster Gates © Theaster Gates Studio. Image © Iwan Baan
Shortly after the Platinum Jubilee celebrations came to a close, the Serpentine Pavilion in the heart of London’s Kensington’s Gardens was revealed. Previous participants have read like a who’s who of international creative talent including architects Bjarke Ingels, SelgasCano and Jun’ya Ishigami. This year was the turn of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates. His pavilion, Black Chapel, realised with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates, is conceived as a space for gathering, meditation and participation. “The name is important because it reflects the invisible parts of my artistic practice. It acknowledges the role that sacred music and the sacred arts have had on my practice, and the collective quality of these emotional and communal initiatives,” says Gates. The structure draws inspiration from a variety of architectural typologies from bottle kilns in Stoke-on-Trent to beehive kilns of the Western United States to the mud huts of Cameroon. Next to the pavilion, there is a bronze bell, salvaged from the site of a former church in Chicago and is intended to act as a call to assemble throughout the Serpentine’s series of summer events.
The renovated basketball court at Summerfield Park designed by Team England player Kofi Josephs and artist Zuke. Image © Birmingham 2022
Birmingham and the city’s surrounding areas are the place to be in July as that’s when the Commonwealth Games commence. To mark the recent opening of the ticket ballot, the design of a refurbished basketball court has been unveiled in Summerfield Park in the inner city district of Ladywood. It is a collaboration between Team professional basketball player Kofi Josephs and local graffiti artist Zuke. It’s hoped that the vibrant yellows and blues used for the court and corresponding with the Games’ branding, will encourage local people to shoot some hoops and engage with the installation both this summer and afterwards, creating part of the Games’ legacy across the West Midlands.