Festival News.

Winners of London Festival of Architecture’s Pews and Perches design competition revealed



The winning teams (from left to right): AKASAKI VANHUYSE, Akmaral Khassen, PAN- PROJECTS, Studio Groove, Jericho and Nicolos (a student team from LDE UTC)

Last year, London Festival of Architecture launched the fourth edition of Pews and Perches in partnership with the Royal Docks, inviting emerging designers, artists, architects and college students to design and install a bespoke public bench in the Royal Docks. Five winning design teams have been selected to have their benches installed for at least a year as part of LFA2023; each offering a unique perspective and interpretation of the LFA theme ‘In Common’.

Excitingly, this year, one of the winning proposals was created by a student team from LDE UTC, whose campus is in the Royal Docks area. London Festival of Architecture are proud to give new, local talent a platform to showcase their skill, with winning benches being installed for a year following the Festival.

Key to this Pews and Perches competition is the fact that last year’s winners will dedicate time to mentor this year’s winning teams. Keen to motivate, offer guidance and support is Andre Kong who will be a mentor Jericho and Nicolos student team at LDE UTC. While Tim and Toko Andrews will mentor the other winners, sharing their tips from last year.

The winning teams are:



PAN- PROJECTS is a research-driven architectural design studio based in East London, UK. The studio conceives architecture as an art of fabrication. Assembling matters to construct stories to be told through space and objects that carry meaningful messages to share.

Yuriko Yagi (co-founder, Arkitekt MAA)

Yuriko Yagi is a co-founder of PAN- PROJECTS, an EU-qualified architect, and a member of the Danish Association of Architects (Arkitekt MAA). She studied at Kyoto Institute of Technology (M.Arch & B.Arch) in Japan and has worked for several renowned architectural practices in Denmark before she established the studio.

Kazumasa Takada (co-founder, Architect ARB/RIBA)

Kazumasa Takada is an architect (RIBA/ARB) and educator who co-founded PAN- PROJECTS in 2017. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (M. Arch) and Waseda University (B. Arch). He is also an Associate Lecturer at the Royal College of Arts (RCA) School of Architecture.

Ralph Nabil Nasrallah (Researcher, Architectural Designer)

Ralph Nabil Nasrallah is an architectural designer and researcher who joined the team to enforce the studio’s research projects. He studied at Central Saint Martins (B.Arch) where he developed a project that explores the potential of urban waste as architectural materials which project was later exhibited as part of the LFA 2022.


Akmaral Khassen

Akmaral Khassen is a RIBA Part 2 architectural assistant currently working in the interior architecture sector in London. Outside of her full-time job, she finds joy in creating digital prints and collages that open conversation about body’s rights and explore joy and softness associated with feminine forms. During Akmaral’s MA Architecture course, her main thesis investigated hidden homelessness among women in the UK. Through research and volunteering in shelters, it was found that there is a lack of access to menstrual hygiene and sanitation. As a result, her thesis was a design proposal for a female-only hostel in Tower Hamlets in London. The first digital print emerged as a planning and zoning strategy diagram that took a feminine forms as an inspiration.

Since then, Akmaral’s prints have been exhibited in various locations around London and were commissioned for shops and private collections in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia.



AKASAKI VANHUYSE is a London-based architecture and design studio established in 2022 by Japanese architect Kenta Akasaki and French designer Astrid Vanhuyse, following experiences at Matheson Whiteley (UK), Nendo (JP) and Marc Berthier (FR). Merging their perspectives of architecture and industrial design, they collaborate on a variety of projects including space, furniture, product, innovation and research. Their approach is driven by the search for creative, thoughtful and lasting solutions. 


Studio Groove

Founded by friends Andrew and Kate – both working qualified architects – Studio Groove is their outlet for creative thinking and handcraft projects.

Having first worked together on their final masters thesis at Edinburgh College of Art – Crafting the Liminal, which exhibited at the RSA’s New Contemporaries – the two have continued to partner-up on the design and construction of everything from furniture to sheds to staircases.

Over the years they have refined their knowledge of small-scale construction and their skills within the workshop with a hands-on DIY approach to all of their projects.

Andrew works at Piercy&Company. He loves to problem-solve tectonic conundrums and has a keen eye for detailing and construction. He has led the technical design, coordination and delivery of a number of installation projects ranging from a garden artist studio to an office lecture theatre and a workshop fitout to 6-storey helical staircase.

Kate works at Heatherwick Studio. She is currently focused on the ground-plane and public realm of a large urban block. With a keen interest in where architecture meets the street, and the way in which people interact with their urban realm, Kate has worked on a number of projects at various stages from new-builds in California to renovations in Shoreditch.


Nicolos Makatsaria and Jericho Cabalan, a student team from UTC College

Jericho will lead UTC’s Pews and Perches design. His passion for architecture was ignited when on the way to school, he first decided to draw the buildings on his journey. This hobby evolved into his love for architecture and seeing how people have defined spaces with buildings. He looks forward to developing skills and learning from other architects during his Pews and Perches experience.

Nicolos is a Year 12 student learning about the Built Environment and Mechatronics. He has taken part in several projects in the past that will help to inform his work for Pews and Perches. As will his great interest in how structures are designed & made. Nicolos looks forward to creating and printing 3d models for the bench designs that his team have designed and hand drawn.

This year’s judging panel included:

  • Daniel Bridge, Royal Docks Team
  • Rosie Hardicker, Project Manager, Royal Docks Team
  • Fabian Danker, Public Spaces Community Working Group representative Creative Connectors representative
  • Eileen Anderson, Local Representative
  • Andre Kong, Andre Kong Studio
  • Rosa Rogina (Director, LFA) – Chair

Congratulations to all of the winning design teams. We can’t wait to see your benches in place in June!


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