Alison Brooks Architects set to bring ‘The Smile’ to London with landmark installation

Alison Brooks Architects has collaborated with The American Hardwood Export Council, Arup and the London Design Festival to present ‘The Smile’ on the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground of the Chelsea College of Arts from 17 September until October.

This urban installation, which is one of the Festival’s Landmark Projects, will showcase the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated hardwood using American tulipwood, and can be inhabited and explored by the public.


‘The Smile’ by Alison Brooks Architects

‘The Smile’ will be 3.5 metres high, 4.5 metres wide and 34 metres long, rising to 6.5 metres of the ground at each end. The project has been made possible with expertise from engineering firm Arup, and showcases the structural possibilities of hardwood CLT, using construction sized panels for the first time.

The huge curved hollow tube will touch the ground at one point, while both ends will extend upwards from the floor. Visitors will enter where the structure meets the ground, and can walk from end to end, discovering a unique space that rises up towards the light, with the open ends providing balconies and unique viewpoints to the city. The structure’s interior, also made from the same beautiful hardwood panels, will offer a complete sensory experience of colour, texture, scent and sound.


‘The Smile’ by Alison Brooks Architects

The interior walls will feature perforations that will allow sunlight to draw changing patterns on the floor throughout the day. By night the interior will be illuminated by linear strips that trace its dynamic curving floor.

‘The Smile’ will be located at Chelsea College of the Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London, SW1P 4JU between 16 September and 12 October. For further information please contact Gloria Roberts: