Smiljan Radić topped a car park with an inflatable cloud
Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton’s vision of the McQueen SS22 woman as a storm chaser required a lofty stage and with the show signalling the iconic British brand’s homecoming that was two decades in the making, the stakes were even higher.
“The artwork for the prints in this collection was shot from the rooftops of the studio where we are lucky enough to have the most incredible views of the city: from Saint Paul’s Cathedral to the London Eye,” said Burton. “We watched the weather and captured the formation and colouration of clouds from daybreak to nightfall and documented changing patterns.”
But how do you distil the spirit of a collection inspired by London’s mighty skies into an architectural concept for the show? Cue the acclaimed Chilean architect Smiljan Radić, a long term collaborator of the brand and the man responsible for McQueen’s Old Bond Street flagship store in London.
For Burton’s first in-person show since the Pandemic, Radić installed a bulbous, cloud-like temporary structure, taking over the rooftop of a 10-storey car park in East London’s Tobacco Docklands. Buoyed by a net of steel tensile cables, the transparent membrane was installed on top of a raised structure that levelled the sloping roof, making space for the backstage area and the all-important air vents that kept the bubble afloat. Hydrotreated vegetable oil, a renewable diesel alternative made from grease, food waste and agricultural residues, powered the generator supplying energy for the event...