Shangri-La Shack winners revealed

You might remember that, a few months ago, the Shangri-La area launched its Build a Palace from Pallets competition. In a first for festivals, they opened up their field to include the creativity of the public in the creation of the area.

Festival-goers were invited to respond to Shangri-La’s narrative and design brief, and build their own homes on site. The overall theme of the field is about a fight for resources and the Shacks form a crucial part – they are the tiny homes erected by the desperate on the outskirts of the alleys.

Whilst the Shacks are part of the overall visual aesthetic of the field, there is a more serious aspect to the project – this is about a fight for survival when resources become scarce and resourcefulness becomes the name of the game.

From the beautiful to the profound via downright silly, the weird yet wonderful winning entries are detailed below:

“The reason that these materials have been chosen is to firstly exhibit how found materials can be recycled for use in building; the ability to use recycled materials is fundamental to sustainable development. Secondly, the water bottles are used to highlight a socio-political issue: the global shortages of water. Two thirds of the bottles in the structure will be full of water and the other one third will be left empty to symbolise the 1/3 of the world’s population that suffers from a shortage of drinking water.”

“Afuture hybrid religion has emerged amongst the struggle for survival in Shangri-La. After a huge hoard of ancient VHS tapes was discovered by miners on the outskirts of the city a new form of worship began to take hold in the city. Followers of this new religion worship the characters and monsters depicted on the covers of the VHS boxes. They believe them to be prophets and saints from time’s past; a lost religion now reborn!”

“What would happen if superman was still around?

What if he worked with our governments to help towards a better future? IN THE SUPERSHACK HE DOES!”


“Continuing directly on from the events of Shangri-La in 2009, the shack imagines that during the Utopian fantasy that followed the revolt, flashy boutiques flourished, popping up in sheds and ramshackle structures. ‘Channel your Aggression’ is a shop that has been taken over by a revolution, the couture turning into rebel armour, a costume of reclaimed evening wear covered in slogans of playful aggression. getting ready to fight for what you believe in, to fight for what is right, and to do it with style and conviction.”


The Seed Bank is a concept that will show how we have escaped the corporation strangle-hold and live by means of exchange tolerance and help. Where fellow man will be provided with provisions exchanged with other provisions and resources required for day to day living. For example:

You can swap your unwanted TV remote for some fresh water and tomato plant seeds.  The TV will be obsolete so now only collected for parts and scrap, and in return given valuable and ever so rare tomato plants and clean water. A utopia where we are trusted to be humble, honourable and giving.

The vegetable corner shop of the future, combining a retro shopping experience with futuristic sentient vegetables.  Due to nuclear and chemical pollution the vegetables have mutated and grocery shopping is now a disturbing experience.  The horned shopkeeper, vegetable limbs hidden beneath his grubby apron, glares at you with glowing eyes as you enter, but stays put in his corner. On display, hideous dystopian creations nestle next to militant fruit of the lower ranks: some scramble for freedom, but their glowing bodies offer no camouflage.  Soylent greens jostle for space with jaundiced carrots, while silent spring onions glare mutely at you.  These fruit all have eyes, and teeth, and some are armed – and they’re watching you…

Words speak louder than actions. Through governmental influence, generations have conspired against themselves to disintegrate the former international language of English. Studies dating back to 2010 have shown that talking to your plants really does promote healthy and natural growth. In our current toxic climate most plants have to be kept alive in incubators.   At the Word Reclamation Centre for Plants and People we collect the CO2 which you breathe out whilst you are talking to the plants. Across decades words have been hijacked by advertising and political campaigns, often dissolving into meaningless sounds that people no longer recognised as ‘true words’. At the Word Reclamation Centre for Plants and People we encourage our visitors to come and talk to the last organic plant specimens on Earth.


After the death of the corrupt regime, freedom has come to Shangri-La! Resources are scarce, but citizens are finally able to express themselves without fear of reprisals. As a home for free speech and citizen journalism, the Citizen Expression Shack will encourage the people to produce a record of their experiences and thoughts.  By providing a range of free media direct to the people, citizens will be able to forge a new identity. Using recycled materials, people will literately be able to build a house dedicated to recording issues and happenings, and their ideas and hopes for the future.

Made from multi coloured wool wrapped around a foundation to cover the walls, floor, ceiling, windows and furniture; Empty Promise is a house made of the imagination, barely real enough to stand in, but at night, so brilliantly illuminated its impossible to ignore.


Slumton’s is Shangri-La’s Number 1 Estate Agency.  With thousands of slums for sale and to let worldwide, we give you a unique insight into the ever changing slums market. Our café-style offices have revolutionised the selling of slums, making the dream of slum living accessible to all.  The eye-catching design of our offices was created to provide a better service and a more one to one experience. Enjoy some delicious (almost clear) muddy water from the local spring whilst perusing the best selection of with and without running sewage slums – available to suit all budgets. Whether you fancy the streets of Rio or if you have aspirations for Mumbai’s Dharavi (very popular after the recent TV coverage!) – we are sure to have the perfect place for you and your family. From our distinctive colour scheme to the welcoming figure of our founder adorning the roof, Slumton’s cannot be missed on the streets of Shangri-La. So why not come down to see us for our special 40th Anniversary celebration – we’ll have some very special slums on offer as well as some lively entertainment and music on in the area.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Our design concept has worked from a shell form, through utopian fantasy fairytale castles and finally coming around to tents. Concepts include shelter, sanctuary, taking your home with you, recycling and re-imagining utopian castle forms. References to fields of tents, both within the festival setting and also refugee camps. Mass migration and the need to create shelter relates to the dystopian concepts outlined in the brief.

It will appear to be just an unassuming police box from the front but inside it will be twice the width and depth (much like the Tardis in Dr Who!).The Tardis was built using tens of thousands of lego bricks. Lego was used as a building material as it’s reusable, recyclable, strong and does not biodegrade, so will last forever!

Unable to let go of the past, compelled to collect anything that might be ‘Useful’ for fear of what the future holds the re claimers domain resembles an Aladdin’s cave of artefacts and materials. Light shimmers through the haphazard windows, coloured by the collaged plastic panes, and collections of all manner of objects hang from the walls carefully organized in groups based on material, size and countless other hierarchies.  Inside the house time stands still, underlined by the lifeless clocks hanging from the wall. The house of the re claimer is like a bank of memories, a palace of past possessions in which people can marvel at the many objects, and ponder the stories that they may have once been part of.  The house of the re claimer becomes a church of forgotten belongings offering wonderment and ambition to each who grace its walls. The re claimer sees value where others don’t.


In a dark corner of Shangri-La rests a battered old man whose tormented mind only animates his broken limbs into action when an invention, so contradictory it borders on genius…. Inside, his walls are strewn with paraphernalia of a by-gone era; books, road signs and maps of places that may no longer exist. It is filled with objects and furniture built from technologies from the old world in new and contradictory ways. Although now there is no sign of the broken minded cretin, his television makes the room flicker with the glowing suggestion that he left in a hurry and his drawings imply he was planning for an event worse than his demented mental nightmares. Oh! and by the way, if you see the fused out old crank be sure to find out what he knows…


Every dystopian future-city needs good transport links and with the world’s oil supply finally running out, options are in short supply. The government of the time, with their last throw of the dice, decided to extend the underground network across the country, all the way to Shangri-La. Though typically for Shangri-La, what you’ll find isn’t exactly at any normal train station, with a toothy tunnel entrance threatening to swallow those brave enough to travel. During the festival, the station will be closed due to planned industrial action and all those who cross the picket lines are at risk of being labelled a scab. You have been warned! [NOTE this entry was from a TFL Underground Worker]

The manufacture, use and disposal of tyres contribute to environmental damage in a huge way. The UK produces enough waste tyres each year to stretch from London to Sydney. They take thousands of years to decompose and they give off toxic fumes when burnt. Some tyres can be re-moulded for use again but after this they too become obsolete.  Used tyres are increasingly being recycled into products like flooring, road surfacing, play areas, aggregates and footwear. They can be used in construction, as a supplementary fuel, or even reprocessed into rubber granulate for use in turf.  Finding a use for waste after its intended purpose and supporting initiatives that do is a way in which we can help the environment. Blow Out will show how versatile and easy they are to use.


This proposal playfully addresses the issues of inequality- the basic gamble of birth (where when and who one is born to) that strongly influences if not determines the course of one’s life. Just as one cannot choose which circumstance in which country and at what time one is born, one does not know what lies beyond the two identical doors facing the alley. The writing on the wall asks that you choose one door. You go in and find yourself in one of two possible scenarios:

1. You are in a cramped space built of scraps of salvaged materials, a dirty futon by your feet and a small pile of well worn clothing. You’re poor. You sit on the bare timber floor planks and stare through the bars that separate your space from the space next door.
2. You are surrounded by luxury. The cosy space is wall-papered, carpeted and comfortably lit by an exquisite table lamp. You’re rich. You sit in the antique armchair and look at the person on the other side of the bars. This split-personality space is intended to entertain and encourage interaction between visitors, perhaps even role playing possible scenarios thus turning the spaces into stage sets, separated yet forced to face each other

This Shack reclaims neglected washing up gloves that have been made redundant as a result of the dishwasher. Picture 16In contrast, the figure on top is made of readily available vegetable fibres, reflecting the natural fibres used more frequently in construction by our ancestors and a return to tradition. The distressed hessian figure will be exposed to the elements- bleached by the sun, or sodden by the rain, it will become vulnerable to its surroundings. The changing figure will be documented daily, as will the interaction from the audience. The audience will be invited to enter the structure through the legs of the figure.



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