DP’s Immersive Experiences Guide To London 2024: Science Tea, Wes Anderson’s Legacy & More!

Learn about London's most stimulating experiences this summer with Design Pataki's curated guide. From the celestial delights of The Ampersand Hotel's Science Afternoon Tea to David Hockney's monumental showcase at Lightroom, there's something for every explorer.

  • 6 Jun '24
  • 12:52 pm by Virender Singh

London, renowned for its rich cultural mosaic, always astonishes with its array of unique experiences. This summer, the capital offers an eclectic mix of attractions conflating art, science, and spirituality in mesmerising ways. Whether you are at The Ampersand Hotel’s whimsical Science Afternoon Tea or sauntering through a groundbreaking exhibition of Tropical Modernism at the Victoria & Albert Museum, each pit stop on this itinerary is curated by Design Pataki to jettison you to another realm. 

Wander into campy mise-en-scenes brimming with romance at the ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ exhibition or excavate the roots of your creativity within the mystical landscapes of Alex and Allyson Grey’s mixed media installation at Illusionaries. Not to be missed is David Hockney’s monumental showcase at Lightroom, where a roundup of behemoth projections offers a personal glimpse into his creative process. Whether an art enthusiast, a culinary explorer or someone eager for a profound grasp of the universe — London’s latest offerings will leave a lasting impression.

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From scraping jam off petri dishes to nibbling on planetary confections, the ‘Science Afternoon Tea’ promises to be out of this world. (Image Credits: The Ampersand Hotel)

#1 Sip On A Celestial Brew Any Afternoon Of The Week At The Ampersand Hotel

If you’re an astronomy buff or simply someone who appreciates some smoke and mirrors to accompany their cuisine, The Ampersand’s Science Afternoon Tea offers a dining experience like no other. Imagine a rocketship dessert stand laden with chocolate spacemen, beakers of artisanal infusions bubbling over, and macarons dyed in vibrant hues of the Milky Way. Wistfully recreating a DIY lab experiment, South Kensington’s legacy hotel is inspired by the neighbouring Science Museum to engage its patrons with gourmet tea blends, dinosaur-shaped cookies, and champagne for those anticipating a tipsy takeoff. Winning laurels at the ‘Afternoon Tea Awards 2018’, its popularity is a testament to the skill and imagination of the hotel’s talented chefs. The attention to detail in flavour and presentation ensures that every bite is a delightful surprise. 

Alternatively, you could also partake of their truly enthralling Jurassic Afternoon Tea. They take their conceptual dining experiences very seriously!

This culinary experiment is open to all from noon until sundown. Sip, savour and let the physics of flavour amaze you. Mondays to Fridays: 12 – 6:30 pm and Saturdays to Sundays: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm. Venue: The Ampersand Hotel at 10 Harrington Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 3ER. Click here to know more. 

Also read: The Global Indian Edit: 3 Designers Who Have Made Their Mark In London

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A film still depicting the Unity Hall at KNUST, Kumasi by John Owuso Addo and Miro Marasović. (Image Credits: Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

#2 Learn About Tropical Modernism At V&A South Kensington

Shaped into existence by the forge of a scorching West African sun, the architectural style of Tropical Modernism has cracked and been rebuilt many times over, synchronous with the tireless odyssey of colonialism. “The story of Tropical Modernism is one of politics and power, defiance, and independence,” curator Christopher Turner admits. His groundbreaking exhibition, ‘Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence’ housed within the prestigious Porter Gallery, traces the evolution of how this movement transcended its imperialist origins to become a beacon of resilience. Diverting the futurist gaze of Modernism towards traditional design typologies prevalent throughout Ghana and the Indian subcontinent for centuries, the late British architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry (who are the protagonists of this saga), forsook mere ornamentation in their building style to better serve the torrid weather conditions in subtropical countries. Explore how this intricate tapestry woven with drawings, photographs and archival ephemera nudges its audiences to reevaluate the legacy of Tropical Modernism in the context of present times. 

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Lifted from a photo album of architectural projects, people and landscapes by Aditya Prakash circa 1960s-2000s (Image Credits: Canadian Centre for Architecture)

Could the emphasis on vernacular cooling systems and sustainability aid us in our battle against global warming? Through the medium of these immersive exhibits at the V&A South Kensington, you will be able to witness how climate-responsive buildings are key to ostensibly reconfiguring the very shape of our planet. 

Join us as we delve into the complex tapestry of Tropical Modernism — a story of struggle, triumph and the enduring quest for postcolonial identities.

This exhibition is open for viewing from March 02 to September 22, 2024, at The Porter Gallery. Venue: V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. Click here to book a pass or learn more about the artists on display.

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Spanning seven distinct themed rooms, each space is designed to transport visitors into a world of pastel-hued grandeur and idyllic landscapes (Image Credits: Fever)

#3 Discover How It Feels To Be ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’

Ever wanted to fall right through the looking glass of legacy filmmaker Wes Anderson’s pastel-tinted grandeur into a world teeming with adventure and eccentricities? Unfurling at 81-85 Old Brompton Road, this December you will be transported to Art Deco hotel rooms and nostalgic post offices, a wide-ranging gamut of subliminal spaces that pay homage to Anderson’s inimitable visual storytelling. Blossoming with 200 real-life images, each distinctly themed room celebrates the memorabilia, aesthetic symmetry and a penchant for composing elaborate vignettes the auteur is known for. 

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The exhibition celebrates the aesthetic motifs that have made Wes Anderson one of the most identifiable directors of our time. (Image Credits: Fever)

The picturesque coastal towns, magical automobiles and lavish architectural façades that populate Anderson’s psyche all spring to life during this cinematic journey. In partnership with leading live entertainment platform Fever, Brooklyn-based husband and wife duo Wally and Amanda Koval founded the ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ (AWA) gallery experience in 2017. This sensory-rich exhibition aims to provide a dose of delightful curiosity and insight into the childlike innocence with which one views the grownup world — even if just for a solitary moment.

Launching On December 08, 2024, this exhibition will be open to the public at 81-85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW7 3LD. You can secure a booking here.


Also read: Director Wes Anderson Brings His Signature Visual Style To Belmond’s British Pullman Train

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‘Entheon’ invites visitors on a profound journey through immersive rooms and captivating installations designed to engage the senses and evoke deep contemplation. (Image Credits: Illusionaries)

#4 Fall Into A Deep Trance At Illusionaries

For the first time in the UK, experience the mystical creations of artists Alex and Allyson Grey at ‘Entheon: A Sanctuary of Visionary Art’. Alex Grey is an internationally acclaimed artist known for his intricate portrayals of the human form and its unseen energies. Allyson Grey’s paintings delve into the abstract symbolism underlying consciousness and the foundational structures of existence. Never before has the Greys’ artwork — which famously illustrates sacred geometries that constitute the very fabric of the cosmos — emanated such compelling divinity. This unique exhibition shall strap you onto a roller coaster of ego death and transcendence, possibly redefining your consciousness through the prism of a ‘universal mind lattice’. 

You can expect a 360-degree submergence into the tenuous connections within our hidden subconscious, simulated by video mapping technology from Italian-based Deltaprocess and the Irish creative agency, Glass Eye Studios. 

Be prepared to embrace an augmented reality through a mish-mash of soundscapes, animation, mirrored rooms and CG adaptations. You can also expect to see Allyson Grey’s Secret Writing bloom into life with art performances and limited-edition prints, engaging viewers in a journey of personal and collective discovery. Moreover, a serene meditation garden featuring the 4m statue of Alex Grey’s ‘Steeple Head,’ enhanced with a captivating projection mapping exhibit will leave you in a state of euphoric contemplation. Salar Nouri, Creative Director and Curator at Illusionaries, remarks: “With ‘Entheon’ we break new ground, entering a realm where art, love and spirit converge in a unique celebration of creativity.” 

Opening on 14 June 2024 at Illusionaries in Canary Wharf, Crossrail Pl, London E14 5AR. You can click here to be a part of this euphoric experience.

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David Hockney by Justin Sutcliffe. (Image Credits: Lightroom)

#5 Deep Dive Into Hockney’s Visions at Lightroom

‘David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not Smaller & Further Away)’ offers a unique blend of visual and auditory experiences that celebrate Hockney’s artistic genius. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see his image-making at such a large scale and to hear him explain the cogitation behind some of his most famous works. Hockney’s passion for opera, and his joyous drive through California with Wagner’s music blaring, highlight the democratic nature of the art form. The projection of this stunt on Lightroom’s colossal walls, with sound embracing you like the waters of a Hockney pool, provides a multi-sensorial experience like no other. Lightroom’s underground viewing space, four stories tall with state-of-the-art sound and crisp projections, is designed for artists to present their work at Olympean sizes. As the debut collaborator, Hockney found it fitting “to take the audience on a personal journey through his art.”

David Hockney’s Bigger & Closer – (not Smaller & Further Away)
(Image Credits: Lightroom, Photography by Justin Sutcliffe)

While the show includes moments of pure visual magic, such as the ‘Looking Closely’ chapter where Hockney rifles through his sketchbooks and the illumination of his Queens Window for Westminster Abbey — the ‘Hockney Paints the Stage’ chapter, however, stands out by creating one of the most dynamic moments of the exhibition. 

From LA to Yorkshire and up to the present day in Normandy, the show offers an unprecedented opportunity to soak in the presence of one of the art world’s great popular geniuses, who continues to catalyse beauty and awe.

You can catch this exhibition from June 17 to October 06, 2024. Venue: Lightroom, 12 Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4DY. Please click here for more information.