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Competition calls for creative designs for public benches along the Royal Docks waterfront

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 August 2020

'The Buoys Are Back in Town' by McCloy + Muchemwa, which used reclaimed marine buoys, was one of the competition winners last year. Picture: Luke O'Donovan

'The Buoys Are Back in Town' by McCloy + Muchemwa, which used reclaimed marine buoys, was one of the competition winners last year. Picture: Luke O'Donovan

Luke O'Donovan

A series of public benches with “creative and playful” designs that promote healthier lifestyles will be installed at the Royal Docks this autumn.

Studio Who's Royal Breath installation at Royal Docks after the design was entered in the first �Pews and Perches� competition. Picture: Luke O'DonovanStudio Who's Royal Breath installation at Royal Docks after the design was entered in the first �Pews and Perches� competition. Picture: Luke O'Donovan

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and the Royal Docks Team (RDT) have launched a project encouraging architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practitioners to come up with proposals for unique spaces to sit.

The second annual “pews and perches” design competition aims to highlight the positive and transformative impact of small-scale interventions in the public realm.

The benches should act as a catalyst for interaction and activity, which could take the form of elements to enable a physical workout or involve children’s active participation with the design.

Proposals should also offer a conversation starter and enhance people’s connection with nature and the docks’ built environment, through the design vision as well as creative and sustainable material choices.

Portia's Malik's Peekaboo winning design incorporated changing facilities for swimmers. Picture: Luke O'DonovanPortia's Malik's Peekaboo winning design incorporated changing facilities for swimmers. Picture: Luke O'Donovan

A Royal Docks spokesperson said: “The way a place looks and feels is reflected in the way it is enjoyed.

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“Our recently published Public Realm Framework highlights the benefits delivered by public spaces, with a focus on health, relaxation, and wellbeing.

“We hope that the emerging architects designed benches will benefit residents and visitors to the Royal Docks, providing them with a safe place to sit, relax and enjoy the unique waterside views.”

Five designs from last year’s competition - from a bench incorporating changing facilities for swimmers to another using reclaimed marine buoys - are still in place, each representing imaginative additions to the docks’ waterfront.

London Festival of Architecture director Tamsie Thomson said: “‘Pews and Perches’ is a brilliant project, which will not only enliven the public realm, but also celebrate London as it re-opens by showcasing the capital’s emerging architecture and design talent.”

Entries close 8am on Monday, September 28 and will be judged by an expert panel.

The winners will each receive £2,000, including a design fee of £500, to develop, build and install their bench in November 2020.

Visit www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org for more information.


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