Clockwise from top left: FLOAT by Akasaki Vanhuyse; Round the Neighbourhood by Nicolos Makatsaria and Jericho Cabalan; Together We Hold by Akmaral Khassen; Chit Chat Chair by Studio Groove. © Luke O’DonovanThe London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and the Royal Docks Team (RDT) have revealed winners of the fourth edition of the Pews and Perches design competition, which sees a series of bespoke public benches delivered throughout the Royal Docks this year.
Now in its fourth year, Pews and Perches highlights the transformative impact of small-scale interventions in the public realm and offers visitors and residents alike unique spaces to sit and make the most of their surrounding public space.
This year one of the winning proposals was created by a student team from LDE UTC, whose campus is in the Royal Docks area. LFA are proud to give new, local talent a platform to showcase their skill, with winning benches being installed for a year following the Festival.
The winning teams, designs and locations are:
Chit Chat Chair by Studio Groove
Resembling two barrels that sit together on the quayside, the Chit Chat Chair‘s curved form hugs its sitters and creates a moment of refuge within the Royal Victoria Dock. The bench’s S-shape brings two users into an unusually intimate composition, with the aim of sparking spontaneous conversation and encouraging people to discover what they share in common.
To find out more about the story behind Chit Chat Chair from Studio Groove, click here!
Location: Floating Gardens, Royal Victoria
Together We Hold by Akmaral Khassen
Together We Hold celebrates women standing together in the face of violation against them and their bodies. Four figurative women form a joyful and fluid ensemble of bench ‘legs’ that support the bench structurally, as well as its sitter. The bench’s playful form and bright colours create a collective moment of joy in Lyle Park for passers-by to engage with.
To find out more about the story behind Together We Hold from Akmaral Khassen, click here!
Location: Lyle Park
Round the Neighbourhood by Nicolos Makatsaria and Jericho Cabalan (student team from UTC College)
Round The Neighbourhood reuses materials from one of last year’s Pews & Perches benches to create an interactive seating arrangement with circularity at its core. One revolving central seat is surrounded by others of varying heights, sizes and colours that each represent the different lives that coexist in The Royal Docks. The bench invites its users to ‘go round the neighbourhood,’ bringing people together to share stories, exchange cultures and learn from each other.
To find out more about the story behind Round the Neighbourhood from Nicolos and Jericho, click here!
Location: UTC College
FLOAT by Akasaki Vanhuyse
FLOAT is a round, faceted bench that takes inspiration from maritime objects and the nearby curved wharf. By cutting and layering deadstock bricks, the bench draws on the material as a symbol of the local area – a nod to the industrial brick buildings that surround the bench – and subverts material conventions by creating a round, soft shape that provides an interactive seating area and meeting spot for the public.
To find out more about the story behind FLOAT from Akasaki Vanhuyse, click here!
Location: Royal Albert Wharf
Pews and Perches forms part of the the Royal Docks official programme; as an LFA Destination, there will be a number of LFA events taking place across the area, showcasing the Royal Docks’ local history, cultural infrastructure and new development. This year, the LFA2023 events also form part of ‘At the Docks’ — an exciting new summer season of arts, culture and events in the Royal Docks.
Alongside the programme the Royal Docks is collaborating with LFA for special episodes of its Building Sounds podcast, which will include a feature on Pews and Perches, chatting to the designers about their individual benches. Click below to listen and watch – you may want to use these podcasts as part of a self-guided LFA walking tour of the area. On your visit make sure to take pictures, tag us and use the #LFA2023!