Spring has finally sprung! Best outdoor areas in the City

Fiorella Lanni

City lovers, it’s time to come out of hibernation and enjoy this glorious weather! Apparently this week London is set to be hotter than Ibiza and Barcelona. Lucky for you, the City is home to great outdoor spaces. Whether it’s lunch in the sun or sunset work drinks, check out the below round up of some of our favourite green areas in the City.

Exchange Square (Broadgate)

London’s newest green space, Exchange Square, aims to boost the emotional and physical wellbeing of those that work in and around Broadgate. Designed by architects DSDHA, Exchange Square is set to become a year-round destination, which will host everything from communal picnics to morning yoga in the sunshine. Exchange Square is also home to an exciting mix of plants and trees that encourage biodiversity and sustainability!

Find Exchange Square: Broadgate Circle, Sun St Passage, London EC2A 2EH

The Garden at 120 (120 Fenchurch Street)

Located on top of the Fen Court building at 120 Fenchurch Street, The Garden at 120 is the City’s largest public rooftop space. Offering breath-taking views of London’s skyline, this is a great outdoor space to visit, as it’s free, with no booking required. Designed by German landscape architects Latz + Partner, the Garden at 120 is home to 85 Italian wisteria trees, over 30 fruit trees and a 200ft-long flowing water feature. 

Find The Garden at 120: 120 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 5BA

St Dunstan in the East Church Garden (Monument)

St Dunstan in the East Church Garden is a truly unique space – a green oasis in the heart of the City. The Church was named for St Dunstan, a 10th century monk, who survived brushes with black magic, leprosy and the Devil himself to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Like so much of the City it was badly damaged by the Great Fire of London and wiped out by a German bomb in 1941. The Anglican Church decided to abandon it as it had become too difficult to rebuild. In 1967 the City of London turned the ruins of St Dunstan into a public park, which offers stunning ruins in the middle of the Church and plants growing all over the walls. 

Find St Dunstan in the East Church Garden: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD

Aldgate Square (Aldgate)

Aldgate Square is perfect for an outdoor lunch with colleagues, as it often features incredible exhibitions and events. Last summer, Aldgate Connect organised Music in the Square – a series of wonderful lunchtime concerts. Grab your friends and colleagues and head down to Aldgate Square for a great lunchtime experience!

Find Aldgate Square: Aldgate High St, London EC3N 1AF

Roof Terrace at One New Change (St Paul’s)

Open to the public seven days a week from 6am to midnight, the Roof Terrace at One New Change truly offers spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral! Whether you’re looking for an informal lunch spot or after work cocktails and tapas night, you will be in for a treat. One New Change also hosts a number of outdoor events throughout the year, ranging from yoga classes to free Wimbledon screenings…

Find the Roof Terrace at One New Change: One New Change, London EC4M 9AF

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Cinema in the City this spring

Phil Jones

The first quarter of the year is always a fantastic time for cinema, with huge blockbusters opening hand in hand with prestige awards season favourites. The City is the place to be for cinephiles this March, with Everyman Broadgate, Barbican Cinema and Curzon Aldgate all offering a wonderfully varied slate of titles.

See The Phantom of the Open at Everyman Broadgate. Starring Academy Award winner Mark Rylance (above), the film tells the true to life story of Maurice Flitcroft, the first amateur golfer to gain entry to the British Open. A heart-warming British tale, this movie is one for fans of Pride or Eddie the Eagle. Plus, it’s directed by Craig Roberts, who you may know as shy Oliver Tate from Submarine.

Find Everyman Broadgate: Broadgate Circle, 1 Finsbury Ave

Like impressing your friends by ticking off all the awards season films? Check out Oscar Week at Barbican Cinema. Starting on 25 March, the Barbican will be screening all of this year’s biggest nominees. Missed being dazzled by Steven Spielberg’s masterful update of West Side Story (above)? How about Benedict Cumberbatch’s career-best turn in BAFTA Best Film winner The Power of the Dog? The Barbican has you sorted.

Find Barbican Cinema: Barbican Centre, Silk Street

If you’re more a fan of caped crusaders, Curzon Aldgate is the place for you. R-Patz himself has put on the cowl to become Gotham’s vengeance in The Batman (above), a star-studded take on the world’s greatest detective. For those of you on the other side of the DC v Marvel debate, Jared Leto brings living vampire Michael Morbius to the big screen for the first time in Morbius, screening at Curzon Aldgate from 31 March.

Find Curzon Aldgate: 2 Canter Way

Whatever you’re looking for from the silver screen, there’s something for all film fans in the City this March. See you in the foyer.

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One City Stories: Anton Alvarez and Saff Williams

Fiorella Lanni

We sat down with Swidesh-Chilean artist Anton Alvarez and Saff Williams, Curatorial Director at Brookfield Properties, to chat about The Remnants, a new exhibition by Alvarez at 100 Bishopsgate.

Alvarez has brought The Extruder, a three-tonne ceramic self-built press with him from Sweden for his residency at 100 Bishopsgate, in Brookfield Properties’ pop-up studio. For the month of February, Alvarez and his studio assistants, will create new sculptures, using recycled raw material, which will be on view in the reception of 100 Bishopsgate from March 2022 until March 2023.

Scroll down to read our interview with Anton and Saff…and make sure to pop by 100 Bishopsgate to catch the artist in action!

Anton Alvarez, credit: TwobyTwo Photography

Your background is in interior architecture and furniture design. You also have an MFA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2012. What attracted you to specialise in the medium of sculpture?

Anton Alvarez: My sculptures about space and the architecture that somehow influence their creation. I work in different scales, which allow for a transition from objects to architecture. The smaller scale is something the audience can observe from the outside. The larger pieces, which can even be larger than human size, almost begin to observe the audience. If you’re standing in between them, you are in a room they’ve generated by themselves. That for me is the difference between the architecture and the object: the scale and how we as humans can interact with them.

You come from a multicultural background, mixed from Swedish and Chilean roots. How does your culture and upbringing influence your work?

Anton Alvarez: I don’t know how much of it is conscious. I remember when I was showing at Art Basel and I was introduced by the gallerist to a visitor who said that she immediately knew the work was by a South American artist because of its colours. I was working with threads back then, so it was another technique, but to this day I work with a strong, vibrant palette. I’m probably touching on historical grounds as far as my palette goes, but I believe more generally that the environment you’re in constantly feeds the mind. It’s hard to pinpoint to a certain moment. You can see transitions when you experience something strong and your work takes another direction. But it’s still a mixture of all the experiences throughout your life that comes through the process. I want to experience and then see what will come out naturally.

Anton Alvarez and The Extruder at Vandalorum, Sweden. Credit: Isak Berglund Mattsson-Mårn

Your new exhibition opens on 28 February at 100 Bishopsgate and will bring six new works and ‘The Extruder’ to London. Could you tell us more about ‘The Extruder’ and the works on view there?

Anton Alvarez: The exhibition will grow organically in the space, which is something that would be typically scary for a commissioner, so I’m very happy to be working with Saff. You have to be brave enough to embrace the fact that we don’t know exactly what will happen. You have to trust the process and let it happen on-site, taking decisions along the way. I of course have a clear idea of what I will be doing, but it’s important to be open to things that may happen during the process, rather than try to push something in a particular direction. It’s better to follow the flow of where the works want to go. I will be creating six tall clay column-like sculptures with the help of my clay-squeezing machine which I’ve named the Extruder. For this particular commission, I chose to enlarge the size of the pieces as the space they’ll be exhibited in is enormous. So, I will trying the new version of the Extruder, which will allow for larger quantities of clay to be pushed out.

Saff, can you tell us about your role as Curatorial Director for Brookfield Properties in Europe?

Saff Wiliams: At Brookfield Properties, we bring our indoor and outdoor spaces to life through installations and exhibitions, with the aim of connecting people and creating memorable experiences, allowing for reflection on contemporary life in an urban environment.

We deliver our programming to engage the companies that occupy our spaces, the broader public, including other workers, residents and local communities, as well as visitors in the area. It’s a bit of a dream job, as I get to work across London and Berlin crafting our arts strategy to show incredible talent across unexpected spaces.

My role entails fostering and building long-term cultural partnerships as well as working directly with contemporary artists that challenge conventional thinking and offer us a fresh perspective on life.

Installation shot of Roman Toothpaste MMXXI at Vandalorum Sweden. Credit: Isak Berglund Mattsson-Mårn

Can you tell us why Brookfield Arts decided to exhibit Anton Alvarez at 100 Bishopsgate?

Saff Wiliams: I was blown away by Anton’s show Tight Squeeze at Huxley Parlour in London. There is a monumentalism to his sculptures that feels reminiscent of the majesty one feels when looking at Roman columns, as well as a handmade quality of clay coil forms. 

His machinery is at the centre of his practice, operating in a symbiotic relationship with the sculptures they produce. His ceramics are created by his custom-made machine ‘The Extruder’, built by the artist himself, which forces clay through specially-made moulds under heavy pressure. 

For this project, I wanted an installation at 100 Bishopsgate, one that both interrupted our large voluminous reception area and questioned the openness of our architecture by ‘putting the columns back into our space’. Anton’s work is the perfect complement to the new monumentalism of our spaces. 

The pop-up artist workshop in Unit 5 of 100 Bishopsgate speaks to the process and performative nature of Anton’s work, giving our tenants and visitors to the City a rare opportunity to see the process of an artist at work, inspired by his immediate environment. 

What’s your favourite part of the exhibition?

Saff Wiliams: I am proud of Brookfield Properties’ willingness to support the creation and installation of a functioning pop-up workshop into one of our city retail units, providing the artist the space and licence to create our bespoke sculptures for 100 Bishopsgate in a public setting.

The opening up of our retail space as a working studio is ground-breaking for the City of London. I hope it sets the tone for exciting and collaborative working relationships between developers and artists in the future.

As the pandemic eases, what is the role that Brookfield Arts plays in bringing visitors back to the City?

Saff Wiliams: We believe in the unique ability of art to transform those spaces from places we rush through to places we linger, places we gather, places we seek out and come together. That is why we have been investing in the arts for over 30 years. By placing art within these shared spaces, we create alternative galleries, giving workers and visitors a moment of joy and reflection and a reminder to pause – if only for a moment. This enables us to make our spaces more enjoyable for tenants and visitors. It also allows us to support artists – especially emerging artists – financially and give them a platform to showcase their work and build recognition across a wider audience.

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Best sports pubs to watch Six Nations in the City

Fiorella Lanni

Calling all the rugby fans out there. We’ve got great news for you…the City is packed with lots of pubs streaming your favourite Six Nations matches! If you couldn’t get a ticket to watch the game in Twickenham, make the most of the quiet City at the weekends. Grab a pint of beer and your crew and head to one of the below City pubs, divided by areas. 

The action kicked off on 5 Feb, but all the places below will take you all the way through to the closing weekend on 19 March. 

St Paul’s

The Pavilion End

Located in the heart of St Paul’s, The Pavilion End is the home of sport in the City.

Brigadiers

Brigadiers have teamed up with Guinness to create the ultimate match day experience for The Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Barbican

The Artillery Arms 

Perched at the edge of the City, The Artillery Arms boasts top-notch food, and beautifully conditioned ales on tap – plus live sport and board games…

Bank

The Phoenix

The Phoenix is your City pub with a modern feel, with its grand chandeliers and comfortable furnishings, helping create a very warm welcome within the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the capital.

Fleet Street

The Albion

Sports fan can’t miss out on the sporting atmosphere at The Albion…With 5 large screen HD TVs, showing Sky Sports and BT Sports over two floors, there isn’t a seat in the house where the sports won’t catch your eye. Book all the Guinness Six Nations actions now!

Punch Tavern

Watch all the rugby fixtures in this historical, traditional Victorian pub in the heart of the City.

Monument & Cannon Street

The Oyster Shed

With an abundance of bookable spaces and panoramic views across the river Thames, The Oyster Shed is the perfect venue to retreat to for a glass of something special. Just a stone’s throw from Monument, Bank and London Bridge stations…Book your turf, sink a few pints and cheer your boys on to victory!

The New Moon

Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of Leadenhall Market, the New Moon is an iconic local pub steeped in history. Guests can discover the nooks and crannies whilst watching the world go by over a pint of expertly kept cask ale.

Aldgate

Three Tuns 

Don’t miss a second of the excitement and action that the Guinness Six Nations has to offer. Enjoy all the action with a pint and friends.

The Minories

The Minories is a traditional pub, located less than one minute’s walk from Tower Hill tube station and in walking distance from some of London’s top attractions, including Tower Bridge and London Dungeon. All major sporting events are shown on Sky and BT Sport, across numerous plasma screens and two large projector screens.

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‘Pal-entines’ Day in the City

Nicola Sheppey

Possibly the most controversial holiday of the year is approaching on Monday. But whether it’s Valentines, Galetines or ‘Pal’entines, (that’s V day with your pals), there’ll always be something fun to do on the 14th. So why not group together some fellow single (or sceptical) friends and do something a little different in the City? Here are five ideas from us.

A cultural afternoon at the Mithraeum

If you’re looking to inject a little bit of historical and cultural energy into your day, you’ll have plenty to enjoy at the London Mithraeum within the Bloomberg Arcade. The ‘Bloomberg SPACE’ gallery area on the ground floor has a brand new exhibition from Chilean sculpture artist Fernando Casasempre. Alongside this, explore the ancient temple underneath showcasing archaeological treasures from the mysterious cult of Mithras. After that, why not head to one of the fantastic eateries in the Arcade for dinner and cocktails?

Find it: 12 Walbrook

A round of golf at Puttshack

The newer Bank branch of the ultimate tech golf venue Puttshack is a little quieter than its other branches, and that means it’s the perfect spot for a last minute get-together. Enjoy neon-lit crazy golf with display screens keeping score (great for eliminating cheaters!). Afterwards, tuck into the food and drink in house. (Psst – it’s also a stone’s throw from the Mithraeum).

Find it: 1 Poultry

Dinner at Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

This stylish Italian eatery in Aldgate is perfect for a catch up with friends. Emilia’s Crafted Pasta focuses on serving basic Italian pasta classics, really well – the béchamel slow cooked bolognese is a particular One City favourite. And you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the homemade signature amaretto tiramisu (pictured). Check out our full review here.

Find it: 77 Alie Street

Drinks at Punch Tavern

Fleet Street is known for its many historical and cosy pubs – and one of our favourites is Punch Tavern, the former gin palace so named because of its Punch magazine patrons back in the 1800s. It’s the perfect spot for pub grub or any form of liquid refreshment, with friendly staff and plenty of space for DMCs.

Find it: 99 Fleet Street

Watch Belfast at Everyman Broadgate

Shakespearean favourite and national treasure Kenneth Branagh recently scooped up Oscar nominations for his latest film, Belfast. Starring Judi Dench and Jamie Dornan, the film is largely based on Branagh’s own childhood, growing up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles in 1969. Catch it (before it wins the Oscar?!?) at Everyman Broadgate, the boutique cinema by Liverpool Street.

Find it: Broadgate Circle

^ Can you fit all five activities in one day? That would be a Valentine’s Day to remember. Tag us @onecityldn on Insta if you make it to one of our recommended spots.

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