Fabien Cappello’s latest project spills out of the gallery and onto the streets

Bamboo tree planted
Fabien Cappello's latest designs, created with the cityscape of London in mind, are on show at Kingston University's Stanley Picker gallery in an exhibition titles 'Streetscape'. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery.
(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

'It's not as glamorous as designing furniture for the domestic environment,' says London designer Fabien Cappello (opens in new tab), surveying his new collection of street furniture currently on show at the Stanley Picker Gallery (opens in new tab) in Kingston, 'but it's so rewarding when you see people making use of it and interacting with it as part of their everyday lives.'

Cappello's new 'Streetscape' collection of public benches, bike racks, litter bins, planters and bollards is the result of an open brief set by the university gallery as part of its annual Design Fellowship (opens in new tab). Rather than wanting to invent anything totally new, the ECAL- and RCA-educated designer set upon improving this typically anonymous and often overlooked area of design. 'A lot of the street furniture that is being produced now feels like it doesn't belong anywhere,' he explains, 'and it offers very little in the way of a design solution.' 

Made from wood, concrete, cast aluminium and steel coated in discreet grey with punches of bright colour, the bold pieces reimagine existing archetypes. Two of the bollard designs can be used as stools, while the built-in table of the park bench can be used to rest coffee cups or an elbow, creating altogether more welcoming spaces that encourage people to stop and rest. 'A little bit of generosity needs to come back into the design of our cities,' warns Cappello, 'or else we're going to end up with such blunt and tasteless environments.'

Another important aspect for Cappello was that the pieces are, where possible, made in London, 'It was really important - being able to have that control, being able to produce without any shipments and to support local industry is priceless.'

Most impressively, Cappello has been working in collaboration with the Royal Borough of Kingston, taking his colourful prototypes from the gallery and onto the streets of Kingston, where they are currently being put to use alongside the town's permanent street furniture. With positive feedback from the public and town planners alike, it may not be too long before Cappello's pieces are part of every Londoner's daily commute.

Yellow colour stand

Made from wood, concrete, cast aluminium and coated steel in grey and punchy brights, the bold pieces reimagine existing archetypes - bins, benches and bollards are all given the Cappello treatment. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery. 

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Bench

Cappello's bench features a built-in table for a coffee cup or simply an elbow, encouraging people to stop and rest. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery. 

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Cardboard roll

Early protoypes for bollards and other items. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery.

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Bricks wall

Cappello has been working with the Royal Borough of Kingston to take his protoypes out on the street, where they are being put to use alongside the town's permanent street furniture. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery.

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Red Bus

'A little bit of generosity needs to come back into the design of our cities, or else we're going to end up with such blunt and tasteless environments,' warns Cappello. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery. 

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Cycles

'It's so rewarding when you see people making use of [your furniture] and interacting with it as part of their everyday lives,' he says. Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery.

(Image credit: Ellie Laycock)

Building and road

A still from the 'Streetscape' film. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Stanley Picker Gallery / Rachel Davies )

ADDRESS

Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture

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