City Benches competition winners announced in London

From a giant teacup to a blue wave made of sustainable materials, the 2021 London Festival of Architecture announces the winners for its annual City Benches competition

A Cuppa By The Mad Hatters for the 2021 LFA Benches competition
A Cuppa by The Mad Hatters
(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

From a giant teacup to a wave made of recyclable materials, the winners of the annual City Benches competition have just been announced by the 2021 London Festival of Architecture, which kicked off this week across the capital. Fun, imaginative and engaging, the structures were selected for their functionality that provides valuable seating space in the City of London, as well as their ability to make us smile. Part of the festival's hybrid programme this year, which spans both physical and digital events, the benches are a summer staple that appears yearly in the streets of Cheapside and, for the first time in 2021, Aldgate. 

There are nine winning designs and they include: It Takes Two by 10F, which is installed at the Nomura Building; Quick Getaway by Ex Architectures with Flu-or Arquitectura and the The Friendly Blob by Jelly Collaborative, both at the Bow Churchyard; Plant Yourself Here by Lisa McDanell Studio outside the Leman Locke Hotel; Do you care about your city? by Nick Green at 150 Cheapside; Conversation by NVBL with Webb Yates Engineers and The Stone Carving Company at the Aldgate Pump; Sobremesa by Pebble Haus outside the Royal Exchange; Monuments to Mingling by Sohanna Srinivasan in collaboration with Joyce and Joyce Joinery and A Small World at Toynbee Hall; and A Cuppa by The Mad Hatters at 20 Middlesex Street. 

Plant Yourself Here By Lisa Mcdanell Studio for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Plant Yourself Here, by Lisa McDanell Studio

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

The winning teams span various disciplines and countries, and offer emerging studios the possibility to make their designs reality in central London locations, improving the public realm. Experimentation is always important and the materials used this year are suitably diverse, ranging from eco-friendly ones that promote sustainable architecture, such as Smile Plastics, to stone and wood. 

‘City Benches is now an established fixture in the London Festival of Architecture’s public programme, and it’s exciting to see how the programme has expanded for 2021. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, this year’s diverse group of emerging architects and designers has risen to the challenge with a fantastic series of installations that enliven the City of London and Aldgate, and bring architectural creativity to new public audiences,' says London Festival of Architecture programme director Rosa Rogina.

The City Benches competition is led by the London Festival of Architecture with Cheapside Business Alliance and Aldgate Connect BID.

Conversation By Nvbl With Webb Yates The Stone Carving Company And The Stone Masonry Company for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Conversation by NVBL with Webb Yates Engineers and The Stone Carving Company

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Do You Care About Your City By Nick Green for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Do you care about your city? by Nick Green

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

It Takes Two By 10 F for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

It Takes Two by 10F

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Monuments To Mingling By Sohanna Srinivasan In Collaboration With Joyce And Joyce Joinery And A Small World for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Monuments to Mingling, by Sohanna Srinivasan in collaboration with Joyce and Joyce Joinery and A Small World

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Quick Gataway By Ex Architectures With Flu Or Arquitectura for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Quick Getaway by Ex Architectures with Flu-or Arquitectura

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

Sobremesa By Pebble Haus for the 2021 LFA Benches competition

Sobremesa by Pebble Haus

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

The Friendly Blob by Jelly Collaborative at bow churchyard

The Friendly Blob by Jelly Collaborative

(Image credit: Agnese Sanvito)

INFORMATION

londonfestivalofarchitecture.org (opens in new tab)

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).

With contributions from