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This is Not a Pop-up – or is it?

The Hayward Gallery Shop goes temporarily surreal

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This is Not a Pop-up – or is it?

September 01 2011
Dominic Lutyens

At first, the name This is Not a Pop-Up sounds misleading. After all, it is a pop-up shop: designer Tina Tsang, of the company Undergrowth Design, will be selling her idiosyncratic furniture, ceramics and glassware at the Hayward Gallery Shop on London’s South Bank. But all becomes clearer when you realise the title evokes surrealist artist René Magritte’s famous painting of a pipe, Ceci n’est pas une pipe. This is apt, since Tsang will be dreaming up a fantastical, ultra-surreal environment with Astroturf carpeting the floor and origami birds created by fellow designer Miho Aishima. (There’ll be a nail artist on board too.) “I’m making a picnic-like, interactive environment that will enhance the surreal aspects of my work,” explains Tsang.

This is Not a Pop-Up is a new and ongoing venture initiated by the Hayward Gallery Shop to showcase the work of designers, and Tsang is kickstarting it. Her designs will be integrated into her colourful installation. These include a champagne glass with a glass bubble in it containing the word “Love”, which is magnified when drink is poured in (second picture, £43), a soap dispenser bearing the words “Wash Away All Sins” (first picture, £66) and a kitsch cakestand bristling with china bunnies and swans (£169).

When you consider that Selfridges recently had a temporary rooftop cocktail bar with an emerald green boating lake, Tsang knows what she’s doing by mounting a spectacle on this scale. Pop-up shops today have to up the ante: entire environments rather than dinky displays are now increasingly de rigueur.