Many of the immersive and experiential design ideas that I have been researching have their origins in the concept of being a pop-up event, i.e. a temporary, experience created to be enjoyed by a select audience, for a limited time.

Originally a concept that made use of premises left empty during periods of recession, by providing a place for new entrepreneurs to test their products and engage with costumers, without having to commit to expensive business rates.   Pop-up cafes, restaurants and shops have now become so ubiquitous that there are websites such as, which publish weekly lists of the latest and most engine new venues appearing in the city.

Now that pop-ups have entered the mainstream, they are as likely to be used by global brands as new start-up businesses and as a result have become increasingly elaborate in the search for the ‘unusual’.

The Carlsberg Bar erected outside the Trueman Brewery in London, is one example of this extreme.  Created entirely out of chocolate it provided visitors with a truly immersive and experiential experience, allowing them to drink beer from chocolate pint ‘glasses’, whilst leaning on a chocolate bar and watching a chocolate TV.

img_5419Carlsberg Bar, Shoreditch London, March 2016 (image from campaign

With these larger scale and more complicated designs the build time of each, is likely to be longer than the engagement time with the customer.  Therefore, I have started to investigate portable, flexible and easy to construct spaces.  

One common way of creating portable pop-up spaces that I have found is through the use of shipping containers. There are many good examples of how these have transported on to site as fully functioning, furnished spaces.  The illy push button house, has been constructed in a shipping container, where the sides fold out to reveal additional room spaces.

illy3illy push button house (image from

I think this is a very clever concept, showcasing how a small area can be designed to maximize the use of available space.  It is unexpected and creates a ‘wow’ factor, with a sleek modern interior ‘popping’ out of a rusted, industrial shipping container.  Although quick to transform, the length of construction and transportation issues, would mean that this is not a structure that could easily be replicated in multiple locations.  

As part of my project work, I want to see if they are ways that high quality, engaging and immersive designs can be created, which are also truly portable.  

Flatform 322 by Toby Horrocks and Kristain Aus (image from

Flat packed furniture design, such as Flatform 322 by Toby Horrocks and Kristain Aus, may provide a starting point of design investigation into how traditional pop-up techniques might be able in inform pop-up event design.



Degun, G (2016) ‘Carlsberg creates Chocolate Bar for Easter’ posted 23 Mar 2016 available at [accessed 18.11.16]

Morvay, S (2015) ‘Illy Shipping Container Push Button House’ posted 22 Mar 2015 available at [accessed 18.11.16]

Mills, J (2010) ‘Flatform 322 by Toby Horrocks and Kristian Aus’ posted 22 July 2010 available at [accessed 18.11.6]