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Pockets of practicality found in powerhouse:uk pods

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Cans of Tango, bottles of Safeway olive oil and tins of Sainsbury's economy plum tomatoes jostle for attention with architectural models in the 'communicating' pod of Branson Coates' powerhouse::uk exhibition of British creativity in London's Horseguards Parade. Coates' aim was to show architecture 'not as something separate', and this he has certainly achieved. In the throng of graphic design, visitors stumble across the occasional model - an eclectic selection of Future Systems' Lords Media Centre, fat's Anti-Oedipal House, some office interiors by Urban Salon, the Bennetts/Land Design proposal for momi (see page 22) and Alsop and Stormer's Esplanade housing project in Melbourne. Plus czwg's Cascades, made almost entirely from Daz packets.

This is the most frenetic of the four pods. 'Learning' sits starkly within a number of greenhouse frames; 'Networking ' is positively spartan, although with some whimsical touches. Perhaps most successful is the 'Lifestyle' pod, where the visitor can stand in one spot while design icons go past, Generation Game-style, on a tilted conveyor: Ron Arad's Tom Vac chairs, Tomoko Azumi's cardboard folding chairs, Jam's Dino tables and chairs and Coates' own Oyster dining chair.

Like his chair, Coates' exuberant building is actually shockingly sensible inside, with lots of space for milling around in the light-filled cruciform centre, and the inflated pods forming a suitably anonymous background for the exhibits. And each pod can be re-used separately. Pizzazz and practicality - no wonder Coates' star is in the ascendant.

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