See the huge urban toy hanging out in Trafalgar Square

Summary:London's new attraction tries to bring the community together through constructing an enormous urban toy.

In order to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, an urban toy dubbed "Bloom" was commissioned by the Greater London Authority -- and it does not disappoint.

The spiraling pink neon structure is constructed of a thousand individual pieces; all of which can be reshaped and altered to create a vast array of new builds. Designed by Alisa Andrasek and Jose Sanchez from the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, the brief is an "urban toy" which facilitates "collective acts of imagination, search and play."

The game's description says:

"The collective act of coming to one place and building something becomes a shared memory for each person attending. None of the pieces can do anything on its own, only by putting together thousands of them is when the game and the Bloom garden emerge."

The idea is this: each small piece which is changed by a member of the community in itself is almost negligible. However, as people engage more and more with the toy, small localized changes result in a dramatic alteration of the thousand-piece object.

Each "cell" is identical. However, they are also flexible and connected through points which change the shape of the enormous toy. By linking different connections or repeating pattern strings, anything can be built -- from a spiral to branches to furniture.

Bloom is due to open August 28 in Trafalgar Square, London, where it will be open beyond the end of the Paralympic Games until October 9. The construction was previously in Victoria Park and the University College London quad.

Image credit: Bloom

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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