Roi des Belges / A Room for London was designed by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with Fiona Banner. Their design drew inspiration from the riverboat, the Roi des Belges, captained by Joseph Conrad whilst in the Congo in 1890, a journey echoed in his most famous work Heart of Darkness.
"The River Thames is why London is here, it’s basically a mercantile story. You can stand on the deck of Roi des Belges and look across to the City of London, it connects with Heart of Darkness, a story about a journey from the Thames into unknown Africa of the 1890s, which is told on a boat on the Thames. It’s odd that a novella written at the end of the 19th century, somehow ricochets through history and becomes a lens for different generations to look at themselves through. For me Roi des Belges is about how stories are made and retold, how myths and history collide to form a third truth. It’s a vessel, a setting for other people to be creative in. It starts as a collaboration between architect and artist, and then becomes collaboration between visitor and building, a project that will only be realised fully at the end of 2012 - at heart it’s an experiment."
A Room for London is a collaboration between Living Architecture and Artangel, in association with Southbank Centre and the London 2012 Festival.
On 31 March 2012, Fiona Banner presented Thames and Hudson, a one night performance of Orson Welles' screenplay Heart of Darkness, 'the greatest film never made'.