The annual London Festival of Architecture definitely has a different feel to it this year, with the coronavirus pandemic pushing it back from its usual June slot, to later in the year and a digital format. Due to this change, we’ve started to see creative benches pop up throughout the city, designed by young architects and designers, with the idea of promoting the festival and highlighting how important creativity, contemplation and conversation are to architecture, design, urban planning, but also to life as a whole in these trying times for us all. The architecture world always comes together each year for the festival, showcasing the most inventive designs and concepts that will shape the future. The creative benches are an exciting way to demonstrate this approach and concept.
The appearance of the five new public benches is an exciting part of this year’s digital London Festival of Architecture experience. The benches have been designed by young designers and architects to promote creativity. The five colourful benches have popped up throughout the city and are finalists of a competition within the Festival for 2020. In the financial district of the city it can often be felt that there is a restrictive design in such a built-up area. The benches provide this calm oasis of creativity and design, where people can sit and relax, contemplate life and recharge their batteries for a few moments.
We’ve seen examples of public benches being used as art, across the country, at other times. They do provide a much-needed function of rest and respite in busy locations, with some people even visiting and rating public benches throughout the country. The London Festival of Architecture decided to continue with the benches competition, as despite the festival becoming more digital this year due to the pandemic, the creative benches are an exciting and innovative way to showcase how people have started to return to some form of normality over the course of the last couple of months and how city centre spaces will become safer and more attractive to people as we come to terms with the restrictions of the pandemic.
The annual competition is a celebration of architecture and young designers, showcasing brand-new talent. The benches specifically, should make people stop and think about the city and how it functions. This year’s festival has seen a wide range of entrants from studios not only in the UK, but from Italy and Denmark amongst other countries.
Every year we are dazzled by the designs put forward in competition for the London Festival of Architecture, making dreams become a reality and highlighting how aesthetically pleasing building designs are possible within a functional and sustainable parameter. The best architecture firms understand the need for inventiveness in the face of a reality of tighter urban spaces, the desire for functionality within a world where we need to make drastic changes to the way we live due to climate change. On top of that, the immediate changes to the way the festival works due to the restrictions put in place because of Covid-19 highlights how quickly things can change for everyone and what impact this can have on our daily lives, and how designs sometimes need to be implemented over a short space of time.