If there's one thing the 21st century has taught us, it's that nothing lasts forever. Trends, and indeed the world at large, are constantly in flux – now more than ever. While there are many who would decry this acceleration of culture as a negative side-effect of the internet age, it has opened up countless opportunities for new modes of experiencing the world around us – particularly in consumer spaces.
Prior to the global pandemic that rocked our way of life, pop-ups were already gaining traction as an accessible way for small business owners to trial new concepts, or reinvent their brand to maintain consumer attention. In the art and interior design worlds as well, temporary installations and collaborative features have become an important way of addressing and engaging with rapid shifts in culture, in real-time.
In this article, we'll be featuring some of the LIV Design Studio team's favourite temporary experiences, retail concepts, and art installations while exploring what makes these spaces so captivating. We'll also feature work from throughout LIV's own portfolio, looking at spaces that were designed with a number of uses in mind.
[Pictured in Header: Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash]
Within our homes, design has always been subject to change. Interiors must be amenable to new ideas, uses, colours, and styles from the latest trends, while remaining timeless – that is, eternally appealing and never outmoded. The same goes for multi-residential projects, offices, and community spaces. As designers, it's important to hone in on work that captivates the attention now, without losing its appeal over time.
One of the biggest challenges interior design faces in this realm is creating impactful experiences that are sustainable, or at least are able to be repurposed following their initial lifespan. We've seen brands as large as Nike get creative in their use of materials, while forcing us to reimagine what constitutes a shop, or an interior, with this refreshingly minimal NikeID pop-up inside of a shipping container.
One of the most appealing aspects of pop-ups for businesses is that they can completely transform any interior at the drop of a hat, turning virtually any space into a physical representation of their brand overnight. We saw this in the simple but sublime transformation of Quartz Co. and WANT Les Essentiels' collaborative showroom at the 2022 Paris Fashion Week. Outfitting the showroom with an inflatable installation, designed by Paf Atelier to mimic a Nordic-inspired snow formation, helped embody a key aspect of the outdoor apparel brand's ethos in an urban locale — and can easily be transposed to new destinations down the line.
Direct parallels can be drawn here to LIV's work for the IDS Vancouver 2019 VIP Lounge. Capturing an adequate amount of regality in a booth for a temporary event encouraged the LIV Design Studio team to experiment with colourful prints, eye-catching patterns, and lively green elements while keeping furnishings elegant, modern, and minimal. Embracing the impermanence of this project ultimately allowed LIV to express new avenues of design.
[Pictured here: IDS 2019 VIP Lounge, Designed by LIV Design Studio]
Brands and retail operations perhaps benefit the most from the popularity of pop-ups, owing to the inherent excitement surrounding temporary events. On a deeper level, pop-ups give businesses the opportunity to reinvent their brand on-the-fly, experiment with new concepts, or trial potential future directions. This not only aids in keeping customers engaged, but creates a noticeable buzz surrounding even the most seasoned businesses who participate in a pop-up.
We're looking abroad for this category — beginning with the Salt Winter pop-up at the Dubai International Financial Centre, designed and brought to life by Königshausen. This project sees the popular SALT burger chain given a camping-inspired makeover in a prominent locale. Motifs of tents, tipis, and campers can be found throughout, with interactive elements like keys for camping sites and a tuck shoppe.
In a more subdued sense, Craft & Bloom's work for Maapilim's pop-up product launch applies similar themes to create an unforgettable retail experience. Resembling the ivory-laden streets of Athens, this monochromatic space features an outdoor path leading inside — a proposition that would likely be untenable long-term, but is a potent design element for a temporary experience. The sense of calm created by the all-white interiors and abundant plant life may go against the typically exciting nature of pop-ups, but speaks to the brand's vision for their products.
[Pictured here: Top & Middle – SALT pop-up by Königshausen, Bottom – Maapilim Product Launch by Craft & Bloom]
Architecture has long been thought of as monolithic by design. As a society, we're conditioned to think of structures as fixed entities – unchanged once they've been put in place.
In actuality, architecture has always flirted with impermanence. As observed in this article from Design Curial, temporary architecture is nothing new. When we shift our mindset to consider things like theatre sets, mobile homes, and even prehistoric huts, it becomes apparent that humankind has always seen the need for temporary structures.
Along these lines, 'The Forest' from Valextra pushes the limits of temporary architecture, turning to nature for inspiration. The renowned Italian leather goods brand updates its boutique on Via Mazoni in Milan each year, turning to various famous architects to bring new concepts to life. When Kengo Kuma and Associates were enlisted to help, the architecture firm brought in live-edge cedar planks and vibrant pop fabrics to adorn counters, benches and shelves, creating a display that allows Valextra's luxurious leathers to shine.
[Pictured here: The Forest pop-up store by Valextra, designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates]
At LIV Design Studio, we always set our gaze firmly on the future when designing interiors – looking beyond current fads to create work that stands the test of time. With that being said, we have also dabbled in projects designed to disappear.
The best exemplar of this is the resplendent floral installation our team helped create at Concord Pacific's Burnaby Presentation Centre. Flowers are perhaps the best example of fleeting beauty – here today, gone tomorrow, but undeniably, breathtakingly beautiful during their lifetime. The Burnaby Presentation Centre exemplifies biophilic design at its most modern.
Dense swathes of florals unfold like an enchanted garden in the lobby of this new development, carefully chosen to bring our team's vision to life. Flowers were selected from local florist Hana by Celsia from among their wide array of stunningly beautiful varietals, with fresh, dried, and artificial florals contributing to this expansive display — truly a grand, but fleeting, display and an embodiment of the possibilities of pop-ups. As with all of LIV's work, our team strove for sustainability in every facet of this project. The manifold florals used to create this temporary display weren't simply disposed of upon the closing of the event, but instead were taken home by team members and guests at the Burnaby Presentation Centre.
In summation, the team at LIV Design Studio views temporary design as a realm of near-limitless possibility, and encourages other designers of all disciplines to embrace the power of the pop-up. In a time where much of our exposure to culture comes from highly-curated and ever-changing social media feeds, our interiors should adapt accordingly to present new outlooks, experiences, and ways of experiencing design.
[Pictured here: Temporary Floral Installation at Concord Pacific's Burnaby Presentation Centre, designed by LIV Design Studio]