© Luke O’Donovan
London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has partnered with Aldgate Connect BID, on a new installation ‘On Tenterground’ to launch at Toynbee Hall on Commercial Street. It will be in place from 7 – 31 July.
‘On Tenterground’ has been designed by ciaociao design and takes inspiration from tenterground to celebrate Aldgate and its garment industry. Established in the 17th-century by Flemish weavers, Aldgate’s tenterground was an area used for drying newly manufactured cloth after fulling. The wet cloth was stretched taut using “tenter hooks”, so that it would dry flat and square.
Using everyday materials including scaffold and nylon fabrics which will be repurposed and recycled, the tenterground will be used as a common ground to host workshops and performances by London Metropolitan University MA Public Art and Performance students throughout July. The diverse programme will include storytelling sessions, pop-ups, and performances to accompany the exhibition of works co-produced with the community.
The site and a specially commissioned design-installation serve as a rich point of germination to explore themes of belonging, identity, and personal histories in the cultural fabric of the neighbourhood around Mallon Gardens, Toynbee Hall and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, while also addressing sustainability and ecological concerns within this garden-in-a-city setting.
Rather than conventional techniques for exhibition, the intervention aims to engage the community in conversations to develop work together that captures the spirit of the neighborhood, cultivating an open space to express the complexities of individual and communal urban life. The unique collaboration tests out new scenarios for improving Aldgate’s public realm, prioritising spaces for art, culture and social exchange and promoting Aldgate as a cultural hub.
This is one of four installations commissioned in partnership with the City of London BIDs.
Visit to see, interact and relax on this new installation and be sure to tag us and #LFA2023 and @aldgateconnectin any photographs you take!
All images below are © Luke O’Donovan