We have always made it our mission at Wallpaper* to spotlight young design talent, so when the RIBA London approached us to partner in a design competition for architecture students, graduates and young practices, we signed up right away.
The competition, aptly named Pews & Perches, was launched at the end of 2011 to give the UK's young creative blood the chance to showcase their design prowess by creating a one-off bench. The results are currently being installed at the Royal Victoria Docks London Pleasure Gardens park - London's latest summertime venue and one of the 2012 London Festival of Architecture's key East London site.
With 'The Playful City' as its theme, the park will also include a number of architectural follies, hanging gardens, a pool and an oyster bar, which will remain open throughout the summer.
A total of 32 bench designs were selected and built, and with the opening day fast approaching, we couldn't resist paying a visit to the site to take it all in. The designs have been imaginative and varied, with benches made of everything from bamboo, straws, broom-handles and railway sleepers, to cast concrete and masterfully bent wood in bright colours.
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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).
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