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Five design teams chosen in City Benches contest

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The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has announced the five design teams chosen to create a series of £800 public benches in the City of London

The list includes emerging London practices Anna Janiak Studio, Astrain Studio and Delve Architects; artists Sarah Emily Porter and James Trundle; and architect Armor Gutiérrez Rivas – an associate principal at KPF.

The City Benches competition – now in its second year – invited students, emerging architects and designers to draw up proposals for a series of one-off benches that enhance the public realm and visitor experience within the historic Cheapside district.

The project, supported by the Cheapside Business Alliance, will deliver a series of ‘safe, durable and low-cost’ benches across the area, suitable for up to two adults, in time for this year’s festival in June.

LFA director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘City Benches … is an excellent project to support emerging architectural and design talent, and it has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm with which the project has once again been received.

‘We’re very grateful to the Cheapside Business Alliance for making this project happen for another year and for their support of the London Festival of Architecture’s mission to champion and celebrate emerging talent across the capital.’

Cheapside Business Alliance BID manager Claire Dumontier-Marriage said: ‘We are proudly supporting this project once again this year. Cheapside is home to some of the capital’s most iconic architecture, both historic and contemporary, attracting thousands of visitors, workers and design enthusiasts.

‘These benches give our many visitors yet more reason to stay - the perfect spot to soak up the atmosphere in the heart of the City, for a catch up with a friend, or simply to enjoy your view.’

The City of London is the capital’s historic financial centre and home to many of its tallest and most iconic buildings. The area, which hosts hundreds of pocket parks and art installations, was a key focus of last year’s LFA.

The latest call for entries was launched a year after the LFA hosted a similar contest focusing on the City’s Eastern Cluster. Winners included Maria Gasparian Studio which created a colourful installation in Bow Church Yard.

Judges for this year’s contest include Thomson, O’Neill and Eric Parry Architects associate director Tanya Parkin. The deadline for applications is midday, 21 February.

The full shortlist

Shortlisted: Anna Janiak Studio

Shortlisted: Anna Janiak Studio

Anna Janiak Studio

Anna Janiak Studio is a London based architecture and design studio. The practice was established in early 2019 by Anna Janiak, with a design emphasis on small scale projects, use of digital fabrication, craftsmanship and strong narrative. By using her knowledge and experience of working with fabricators, foundries and artisans to design and deliver unique parts of the buildings, Anna helps likeminded clients create unique pieces of design.

Shortlisted: Delve Architects

Shortlisted: Delve Architects

Delve Architects

Delve is an architecture and design practice based in south London, set up in 2018 by Alex Raher and Edward Martin. Delve stands for exploring; designing and creating spaces that have a positive impact on how we live and work.

Shortlisted: Sarah Emily Porter in collaboration with James Trundle

Shortlisted: Sarah Emily Porter in collaboration with James Trundle

Sarah Emily Porter in collaboration with James Trundle

Sarah Emily Porter and James Trundle live and work in London. Since 2014 they have discussed their own artistic practices as part of a collective with potential for collaborations. They worked together for the first time in 2018 when James fabricated Sarah’s award winning sculpture, ‘Anatomy of Colour’ which won the Judge’s Prize in the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2018. Together they form a well-balanced duo, presenting the perfect fusion of colour, form and craftsmanship.

Shortlisted: Astrain Studio

Shortlisted: Astrain Studio

Astrain Studio

Operating in the worlds of architecture, design and academia, Astrain Studio was founded in 2016 by architect Irene Astrain after working for exceptional award-winning architecture practices. Through a collaborative and rigorous design process, the practice is dedicated to delivering deeply contextual projects celebrating a contagious sense of joyful elegance.

Shortlisted: Armor Gutiérrez Rivas

Shortlisted: Armor Gutiérrez Rivas

Armor Gutiérrez Rivas

Armor is an architect and researcher, interested in how new making processes are shaping the built environment. In 2010 he founded Atelier La Juntana, an architecture and design workshop focusing on the manufacture of innovative prototypes and art installations which explore the boundary between traditional craft and digital design. Since 2017 he runs a Master in Architecture design studio at the University of East London in parallel with his work as Associate Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox London.

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