Universal re-imagined the 20,400m2 space in Regents Park for this years Frieze London. Working with a new masterplan to increase the experience for the 55,000 visitors, Universal focused on contrast, tone and texture, to make the visitor experience of Frieze one that mirrors the quality of the art on show.
Visitors enter through a darkened timber-lined courtyard that surrounds the existing trees, intensifying the park’s location. The walls are lined in a dark stained timber with a reflective finish, to reflect and enhance the colour of the autumn leaves. The walls angle and rise to notch under the tree branches and link up to the tent entrance, located 3m above ground level by a generous staircase and ramp, with the panels gently spaced to allow fragmented views into the park. A long passageway then opens out into the light spaces for the art galleries, essentially a tent within the tent, using multiple layers of fabric to line the space, reduce the light levels down and remove all the technical elements of the space; a simple expression of the volume of the tents of Frieze.
A series of main ‘avenues’ connects all tents, while small ‘public squares’ punctate the galleries to offer a moment to rest, and to enjoy live art performances, alongside custom benches and apertures to connect views into and out of the restaurants. The new layout provides long vistas and connections, a strong formal framework for the differing gallery types and allows for movement of vast amounts of people, all to give a more spacious feeling to the fair.
The spaces within the gallery areas are neutral, whereas the areas outside of the galleries are influenced by a strong colour and material palette that allow these to be moments of change and difference. The restaurants including Bocco di Lupo, Caravan and Brunswick House, have all worked closely with Universal to ensure that the essence of their permanent base is felt, but seen through the lens of Frieze. Bocca Above is the fine dining option, set on a mezzanine level using Italian Mutina tiles. Brunswick House is clad with Georgian floorboards, while Caravan uses mesh panels and Bocca Below features Italian Terrazzo flooring.For the VIP lounge, a textile ceiling plane was installed into which skylights were cut to differentiate the different zones within the space, as well as softening the acoustics. The fabric by Kvadrat, is a combination of Raf Simons and wool dyed felt in 10 shades which run in a staggered gradient from warm dark blues to red. A dark reflective stained wall of douglas fir veneer lines the lounge area, with planters to divide the space into to a series of ‘rooms’, and bring some rest and intimacy to the spaces. Classic Ercol and Bentwood chairs add a more permanent feeling to the temporary space. Universal commissioned the talented florist Hattie Fox to create seasonal planters that are placed strategically within the fair, using the plants that grow in Regent’s Park to bring the outside inside, enhancing the connection of Frieze London to its location.