In 1996, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban completed his Furniture House project. Composed of 33 prefabricated pieces of furniture, the 116m2 house stands due to the new role given to wardrobes and bookshelves, which are no longer used exclusively for storage, but also in a structural capacity. Something similar is going on in Volto, an Italian-themed bar/restaurant in Bethnal Green, where the tables become slender mild steel columns on top of which a grid of roof “cages” are perched.
Currently with the planning authorities and likely to become the first built full-sized Ordinary scheme outside the world of interiors, this diner-like space has another trick or two up its sleeve: the ceiling is in fact a series of double-sided panels, one face of which is painted with photoluminescent paint. This can be turned to absorb sunlight during the day, and flipped over at night to emit an atmospheric glow in the dark. Starkly Miesian in its rectilinear orthogonality, the space is built up using a proprietary steel system.