The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and the Royal Docks Team have launched the third edition of the Pews and Perches design competition, which invites architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practitioners to design, create and deliver bespoke public benches to the Royal Docks in London.
Entrants are invited to deliver playful and creative bench proposals that fall within the theme of this year’s LFA – ‘act’. The idea is to create a bench that actively engages its users and other visitors while the bench is in situ. The organisers hope that the benches will celebrate and transform the Royal Docks as a place to sit, rest and play.
Now in its third year, the competition is designed to highlight the transformative impact of small-scale interventions in the public realm. It obviously has a more prosaic intent as well, in that it offers visitors and residents alike unique spaces to sit and make the most of the surrounding public space.
Once London’s gateway to world trade, the Royal Docks now represent one of UK’s most successful and important regeneration stories, playing a role in the re-emergence of the London borough of Newham as a commercial and cultural hub with an exciting new waterfront.
Several locations spread out across the Royal Docks have been selected for the 2022 Pews and Perches, including Royal Victoria Dock Floating Garden, Thames Barrier Park, Connaught Crossing and London Design & Engineering UTC College.
Winners will receive £2,300, including a design fee of £500, to develop, build and install their bench this summer. Each bench will stay in place until at least the summer of 2023. Applications close at midday on 5 April. The online form can be found here.
‘We’re thrilled to be working once again with the Royal Docks on the Pews and Perches competition, said Rosa Rogina, director of the London Festival of Architecture. ‘The project will not only make a positive contribution to the public realm, but also celebrate the Royal Docks, which this year form part of the LFA Destinations. The LFA’s mission is to democratise architecture and discover new talent, and we’re very grateful to the Royal Docks for sharing that vision.’
‘We are delighted to be working for a third successive year with the London Festival of Architecture on the Pews and Perches bench competition, said a spokesperson from the Royal Docks. ‘The look and feel of a place are reflected in how it is enjoyed. Over the past few years, we have worked hard with talented architects and designers to shape the Royal Docks, making it a place where people can work, rest and play. Our focus has been to develop and deliver public spaces focusing on health, relaxation, and well-being. We hope that these emerging-architect-designed benches will benefit residents and visitors alike, providing them with a safe place to sit, relax and enjoy the unique waterside views that the Royal Docks provide.’