The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has released images of nine new public benches in the City of London, designed by rising architectural stars
The competition-winning designs have been installed within the historic district’s Eastern Cluster. They include a memorial to Square Mile dog Geoffrey Barkington by Patrick McEvoy and a seat formed of 45,000 penny coins stacked in columns by Nicholas Kirk Architects.
Multidisciplinary practitioner Maria Gasparian has designed a ceramic structure for Bow churchyard and a ’yin and yang-style’ pair of benches have been placed by the London Stock Exchange, created by London-based Studioort with designer Elena Boni.
New practice Mills Turner has designed a curved timber bench just off Fenchurch Street, while Eleanor Dodman Architects has built a multi-tiered ‘garden bench’ on Cheapside, complete with planted elements.
Other winning entries include a bright yellow sculptural seat by design outfit McCloy + Muchemwa, an intricate ‘City Ghosts’ structure by Mariya Lapteva with FP McCann and a bench inspired by the rock formations of the Giant’s Causeway by Studio Yu x tomos.design.
The competition sought proposals for a number of £800 one-off benches to enhance the public realm and visitor experience, and was open to architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practices from across London
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.
City of London Corporation director of built environment Caroline Dwyer said: ‘We are delighted to see these benches unveiled for the enjoyment of the public.
‘As summer settles in, we’re seeing more and more City workers and visitors enjoying the public realm during their lunchtimes, evenings and weekends and hope these particularly striking benches further encourage this.’
‘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.’
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 bench designers
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 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.
Eleanor Dodman Architects was founded in London in 2018.
Studio Yu x tomos.design
Studio Yu x tomos.design is a multidisciplinary partnership working across architecture and design.
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 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 is the design and architecture studio of Steven McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa.
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 was founded in 2011 in North London and operates in the fields of art and architecture.