Fifth and final edition of Pews and Perches design competition


The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and The Royal Docks Team (RDT) are inviting architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging practitioners to create one of several public benches, to be installed in the public realm of the Royal Docks in 2024.

Now in its fifth and final edition, this competition is seeking proposals that creatively embrace, explore and test circular economy principles in their design. Earlier this year, The Mayor of London set out his vision of London transitioning to a circular economy in the draft London Plan and published a primer for how to embed circular economy principles into design processes. When we look forward to the future of the industry, the importance of re-using and retaining materials is undeniable. Now is the moment to test out the ways we can achieve these strategies to best meet the needs of people and planet.

Designers can respond to this prompt in a variety of ways and push the boundaries of flexible or adaptive design. What are the past or future lives of a bench’s materials? Re-thinking ‘waste’ as ‘resource’ is central to this brief and we are interested in seeing creative ways to (re)use local materials in the bench design. You are also invited to take inspiration for your design from the context of the Royal Docks, its proximity to the water and the communities who live there.

If your design is one of the winners, you will be awarded £2,200 (including a design fee of £500) to develop, build and install your bench in the Royal Docks. This will be a chance to participate in a unique project and showcase your imaginative design to the public and the many festival producers, as well as the opportunity to be involved in events held through LFA 2024. Designers will have the opportunity to talk about their process on the Building Sounds podcast which will be released to accompany each of the benches.

This year, we have once again partnered with the London Design and Engineering UTC in the Royal Docks. Designers who do not have access to studio space will be offered the opportunity to fabricate their bench in the college’s workshop. As well as alleviating manufacture and transport costs, there will be the opportunity to work with the UTC learners to provide mentoring and include them in the experience of building a live project. London Design and Engineering UTC require a DBS check for designers to use their workshop. Part of the project budget can be allocated to obtaining a DBS clearance, if one is not already held.

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