The £9 million project uses new street furniture and artwork to improve the public realm on London’s most glamorous shopping thoroughfare
Commissioned by Westminster City Council and the New West End Company working in partnership with TfL, the scheme is designed to improve the Bond Street area, one synonymous with luxury goods but where the quality of the streetscape up to recently was poor. The overall unified scheme, developed by FM Conway-WSP, was worked on by Publica together with traffic consultant Norman Rourke Prymeis.
The scheme uses materials including York Stone, Portuguese silver granite, and green and black stone paving – along with streamlined road signs and markings – to create an improved public realm. The design adapts itself along the length of the street, responding to the shifting functions and character of the areas along it. A series of varied striations and surfaces look to balance the requirements of pedestrians with those of bicycles, cars and service vehicles. Wider footways and improved crossings in particular have been provided in anticipation of increased footfall after the Elizabeth Line opens, which will see new Underground platforms with an exit on adjacent Hanover Square.
New street furniture, public seating, greenery and lighting accompany new public spaces and improved settings for public art, including Elizabeth Frink’s 1974 sculpture Horse and Rider, which was moved from Dover Street.
Publica bond street frink new setting
Urban designer’s statement
The redesign of Bond Street supports the goals of the mayor’s Healthy Streets programme which aims to improve the local environment by providing more space for walking and cycling and improved spaces where people can interact. The project prioritises pedestrians, residents and visitors alike, with widened footways and improved accessibility, and also considered cycling in its design through improved signage, route legibility and the maintenance of cycling infrastructure.
The project promotes environmental sustainability and personal as well as social wellbeing through new tree planting, public seating, improved settings for public art, commemoration, and the creation of new space intended for social interaction, cultural life and leisure.
From its inception, the project’s aspirations were developed in dialogue with the local community – not just the high-end retailers, but employees, visitors and local residents’ groups. The project has delivered a safer, more accessible public realm to meet the needs of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. The positioning of features respects the requirements – in terms of loading, parking and access – of residential dwellings accessed off Bond Street.
The project has improved both visitors’ and the local community’s ability to promenade, enjoy a world-renowned street and several key pieces of public art – Elizabeth Frink’s Horse and Rider sculpture was relocated to a prominent position on the street with a plaque providing additional information about the artwork, unveiled as part of Mayfair Art Weekend in June 2018; Henry Moore’s Time and Life screen is also now illuminated at night, and new lighting creates continuity along the street harmonising with retail displays, modern and heritage buildings.
Publica bond street new pedestrian space
The project not only revitalises Bond Street as a location for business, shopping and commerce, as well as a key city walking route – it has delivered the street as a destination in its own right, a place to pause, enjoy and experience a prime location for cultural experience, the unifying street of this historic mixed-use neighbourhood.
A holistic, research-based vision for the street’s transformation was set by Publica for Westminster City Council. The project builds upon the adopted City Plan and a range of policies aimed to preserve and enhance the character and function of the streets in the Central Activities Zone and central London more widely.
The design for Bond Street was developed from a detailed audit and analysis of both the street and the wider neighbourhood. The team mapped and documented street uses, routes, character, connections, material, and architectural and spatial conditions, while anticipating the impact of new patterns of movement across the district such as the new Bond Street station. Publica then provided landscape and urban design following our initial detailed local survey and concept design. Norman Rourke Prymeis provided specialist traffic modelling and guidance on loading/parking arrangements. WSP managed the project and led the engineering design through to construction, also working to ensure substantial communication and engagement with local people.
The project exemplifies a successful public realm project realised through a multi-disciplinary approach and extensive partnership collaboration. The Bond Street public realm improvements were developed through the collective expertise of various stakeholders, all of who contributed to delivering a design which balances the needs of different transport modes, celebrates the historic buildings, anticipates future change and creates a world-class civic realm.
Alex Arestis, urban design director, Publica
Publica bond street bench cumaru long
Since the improvement scheme began in 2017, Bond Street has seen unprecedented levels of investment with £50 million invested through 10 new brand openings and seven major store refurbishments, as brands look to Bond Street as their new home and renew their commitment to the street. The street has also been growing in significance as the centre of the UK’s art market. As a result of the public realm improvement scheme, the area’s streetscape and environment now reflect the quality of the prestigious brands who call it home, as well as the standard these international shoppers and investors would expect.
Cynthia Grant, project director, New West End Company
Publica bond street drawings paving plan
Start on site April 2017
Completion October 2018 (Phase 1)
Gross external floor area 16,970m²
Form of contract or procurement route NEC3 Term Service Contract 2013
Construction cost £9.85 million
Construction cost per m² £580
Urban designer Publica
Client Westminster City Council / New West End Company / Transport for London
Lead engineer WSP
Lead contractor FM Conway
Structural engineer WSP
Bench fabricators Furnitubes
Accessibility consultant Rachel Marshall, Withernay Projects
Letter carvers Annet Stirling and Ben Jones
Project manager WSP
CDM principal designer WSP
CAD software used AutoCad