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
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.
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. §