Summer in the City – there’s no better time to stroll around and soak in the sights while the crowds escape for the summer holidays. But don’t keep your eyes on the skyscrapers – there’s plenty to enjoy at ground-level, too, including the London Festival of Architecture (LFA)’s ‘City Parklets’: temporary installations that bring little bits of fun into the urban jungle.
LFA challenged architects and designers to come up with creative ‘parklets’ (miniature parks) as part of a design competition, with the goal of creating unique spots for the public to rest, relax and observe the City. The three winners are scattered across the Square Mile for the summer, so if you haven’t enjoyed them already, you can still catch them before they disappear in September. Don’t miss:
The London Cablet
You’ve never seen a cab like this. Fatkin Design Architects have taken the archetypal London symbol, the black cab, and stripped it open – transforming it into a structure for flowers to blossom and plants to poke through. As we move away from fossil-fuelled transport and towards a sustainable lifestyle, how can we make the best use of our old vehicles? Fatkin’s on the right path, turning a classic cab into a public space that lets nature flourish. All that makes for an Instagrammable spot like no other.
The Pavement Art Gallery
If you’ve spent, well, any time at all in London, you’ll have seen what incredible artists can do with pavements. The York slab forms a canvas for ‘screevers’ (pavement artists) around the city, but what happens when you lift that canvas up and place it on an easel? Patrick McEvoy has done just that, creating an interactive pavement art gallery – where you can grab a piece of chalk and create some art yourself (without having to bend too much). Pavement art is by nature temporary – drawn with chalk and washed away as soon as it rains – and McEvoy’s art gallery is the same, creating an artistic experiment that encourages you to look at pavement art at eye-height and notice how fleeting such creativity can be.
Rocks and Reeds
Rocks and reeds – two things we’re not used to seeing in our metropolitan capital in 2019, but a surprisingly significant part of London’s history as a marshland. PARTI Architecture Studio used this as an inspiration for their flamboyant structures, creating a bench and planter using construction rubble from nearby demolition works while installing tall grasses and wildflowers that quite literally inject a breath of fresh air into the City. With recent discoveries showing the power that hedges and grasses have on tackling air pollution in congested cities, this parklet might just become your new escape into nature.
Want to learn more? The LFA City Showcase exhibition is up at The City Centre until 11 August, detailing more about the City Parklets and the other LFA Design Competition winners: A City of London Bench. Click here to find out more.
Learn more about the London Festival of Architecture at: https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/
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