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Architecture festival names 10 winners in City benches contest

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Ten emerging designers and architects have won the London Festival of Architecture’s (LFA) competition for a series of £800 public benches in the City of London

Winning teams include London-based Studioort with designer Elena Boni, multi-disciplinary practitioner Maria Gasparian, con | form architects, which was founded in 2016, and Eleanor Dodman Architects, set up earlier this year.

The other winners are Studio Yu x tomos.design; Patrick McEvoy; new practice Mills Turner; design outfit McCloy + Muchemwa; Newcastle graduate Mariya Lapteva with FP McCann; and local firm Nicholas Kirk Architects. Images of the winning proposals have yet to be revealed.

Open to architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practices from across London, the competition sought proposals for a number of one-off benches which enhance the public realm and visitor experience within the historic district’s ‘Eastern Cluster’.

The City Benches project, supported by the City of London Corporation and the Cheapside Business Alliance, aims to boost pedestrian growth within the area around Bank Station and encourage new places to rest and enjoy. The winning schemes will be constructed within the Eastern City Cluster during this year’s LFA in June.

Caroline Dwyer, director of built environment for the City of London Corporation, said: ‘Huge congratulations to the winners. The look and feel of the City is constantly changing and no doubt the work of these winners will contribute to that, and transform the public realm during this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

‘Projects such as the City Benches competition provide young talent with the opportunity to be a part of that evolution and helping the City remain an exceptional place.’

The City of London, which hosts hundreds of pocket parks and art installations, will be a key focus of this year’s LFA. The winning benches will be placed at Cunard Place, Jubilee Gardens, Fen Court, and two on Creechurch Lane. Proposals were required to be safe and durable, seat a minimum of two people and be deliverable within the £800 budget.

Judges included Thomson, GLA senior project officer Pooja Agrawal, Make Architects partner Katy Ghahremani, and City Public Realm assistant director Simon Glynn.

The winners

Elena Boni & Studioort

Studioort is a London-based practice working within the fields of architecture, design and urbanism, founded in 2017 by Artison Wangpraseurt. Elena Boni is a designer.

Maria Gasparian

Maria Gasparian is an award-winning ceramic designer, architect and researcher based in London. Her multidisciplinary practice – Maria Gasparian Studio – combines art, design and architecture with a particular focus on the integration of ceramics in buildings and public spaces. Maria is currently a doctoral researcher at Central Saint Martins, London.

con | form architects

con | form architects was established in 2016 by founders Ben Edgley and Eoin O’Leary.

Eleanor Dodman Architects

Eleanor Dodman Architects was founded in London in 2018.

Studio Yu x tomos.design

Studio Yu x tomos.design is a multi-disciplinary partnership working across architecture and design.

Patrick McEvoy

Patrick is interested in the cultural context of architecture. His bench was made with the help of Solid Geometry Structural Engineers, Tarmac, Kilnbridge Construction Services and Prewett Bizley Architects.

Mills Turner

Mills Turner is a young architecture, design and development practice based in London. The two founders gained professional experience working in Switzerland before returning to the UK to establish the firm.

McCloy + Muchemwa

McCloy + Muchemwa is the design and architecture studio of Steven McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa.

Mariya Lapteva

Mariya is a Part 2 Newcastle University alumnus, a casting enthusiast, with a passion for handcrafting. She presently works at Architecture Initiative in London.

Nicholas Kirk Architects

Nicholas Kirk Architects was founded in 2011 in North London and operates in the fields of art and architecture.

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