Miniature parks appear on the streets for London Festival of Architecture

Large bench with plants coming out the top
A series of miniature landscaped areas are part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture. Pictured here, Rocks and Reeds by PARTI. Photography: Luke O’Donovan
(Image credit: Luke O'Donovan)

Three miniature landscape settings have popped up in London, temporarily transforming pockets of pavement into public ‘parklets’. As part of the London Festival of Architecture, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, the three urban interventions have been designed by emerging London-based practitioners.

The parklets respond to a brief, which called competition entrants (of which there were more than 90) to reclaim unused spaces for pedestrians and showcase the potential of city streets as a connected urban park.

Architecture studio PARTI has placed its project, Rocks and Reeds, which takes the form of an undulating bench and reed sprouting sofa, on Billiter street. Construction rubble from demolition works taking place next door has been placed in a Corten steel cage which comprises the reed bed. The parklet helps shelter passers-by from over spilling dust and helps clean the air with the use of grasses that will grow to 1.5m high.

‘We wanted to create something playful, that hinted towards domestic furniture — turning a raw, heavy and austere palette of materials into something playful, welcoming and light,’ says Eleanor Hill, founding director of PARTI. ‘We want to bring back elements from the river and marshes to reconnect the passer-by to the story of London as a marshland.’


At Smithfield Market, pollution is also on the agenda. A decommissioned London black cab has been turned into a place for sitting, relaxing and playing by Fatkin architects in The London Cablet. The former diesel guzzling, noxious fume spewing machine now boasts plants that absorb pollution, subsequently providing an unexpected habitat for pollinating insects.

Lastly, artist Patrick McEvoy repurposed the kerb on St Martins le Grand as an open-air artist's studio and gallery. Drawing on the York stone slabs, which are commonly used as a canvas by London’s pavement artists, The Pavement Art Gallery, encourages those wandering by to draw upon York stone slabs that have been placed on three easels. The parklets will remain in London until September.

Five easels next to each other with children painting on them and a man sat on a stool

Pavement Art Gallery by Patrick McEvoy

(Image credit: TBC)

Blue car frame with no wheels and plants coming out of it

The London Cablet by Fatkin

(Image credit: TBC)