We’ve been watching artist Barnaby Barford’s Instagram feed closely over the past few months for sneaky-peeks of his new project, The Tower of Babel.

Once installed in London’s V&A next week, the six-metre tower will comprise 3,000 miniature London shopfronts made from bone china. In the build up to the sculpture’s unveiling, Barford has been posting images of the stores on Instagram, complete with a potted history of the building and area.

Take Paul Smith’s store in Covent Garden, for example. The street might be fancy now but in the 18th century the area was ‘a well-known red-light district, attracting notable prostitutes,’ Barford writes.

The completed Tower of Babel will offer a snapshot of London’s social and economic make-up, with derelict stores and pound shops clustered at its base and boutiques crowning its pinnacle.

And to hammer home his comment on consumerism, each ceramic shop will be available to purchase from the V&A – of course, a hot spot in Knightsbridge costs more than its Hackney counterpart.

Here’s a few to whet your appetite ahead of its opening on the 8 September.



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