‘City Benches’ competition – winning teams revealed.


The LFA and Cheapside Business Alliance have announced the six design teams that have been chosen to develop a series of one-off public benches. The competition offers the opportunity for architecture and design students, recent graduates and emerging architects, to develop inspired bench designs and transform the streetscape one of the City’s leading destinations – Cheapside.

Following two very successful series of benches installed across Cheapside and the City of London during the London Festival of Architecture 2018 and 2019, this year’s competition attracted an exciting selection of entries from across all design backgrounds. The teams show initiative to energise Cheapside’s urban landscape, whilst incorporating social interaction and nourishing a sense of belonging. Allowing the public to pause, sit and relax, the benches are encouraged to respond to the City of London’s ‘Health and Wellbeing Strategy’, which focuses on mental and physical welfare of its residents, workers and visitors.

The six winning teams are:

1. HAC

Cameron Clarke, Hugh Diamond and Archie Cantwell are all architects originally from the UK who met at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2017.Now settled in Copenhagen, they have since collaborated on a number of design projects, going on to develop projects sited in China, Korea, Denmark, Ireland and the UK. Their practice balances an observant ethnographic sensitivity against bold, narrative-led concepts. With interdisciplinary at the core, they share skills across architectural design, with a particular focus on efficient construction detailing, film and model-making.

Instagram: @cameron.clarke_
Instagram: @archiecan
Instagram: @hughdiamond

2. Iain Jamieson with Dave Drury

Iain Jamieson is a designer with a particular interest in the fictional architectures of film and gaming, and the role that narrative can play in the development of the contemporary city. Working alongside him is Dave Drury, a maker who merges CNC technologies with traditional joinery methods to create joyful furniture at a variety of scales.


3. Oli Colman Studio

Oli set up his own studio in East London upon graduating from the Bartlett in 2019. His work aims to create light-hearted design through whimsical ideas and colourful creations.

Instagram: @olicolmanstudio


Founded in 2018, PROFFERLO is an architectural think-tank based across London and Bari. Formed by Fabio Cappello, Fabiana Dicuonzo, Marta Marotta, Giuseppe Resta, the team works on public spaces, exhibitions, and pavilions, establishing a common ground to engage a larger audience on architecture topics and contaminate architecture with artistic practices.

Instagram: @profferlo.architecture

5. Studio mxmxm

Studio mxmxm is a Belgian art and architecture studio founded by Jason Slabbynck in 2012. The studio focuses on making comprehensive projects, ranging from (theatre) scenography to architecture (installation), that trigger transformative experiences. Their goal is poetic reflection and community building, provoked by an honest, minimal and innovative design.

Instagram: @studiomxmxm
Twitter: @studiomxmxm

6. Upcircle Design Studio

Upcircle is a sustainable multi-disciplined design studio based in London comprising interior designers, architects, and graphic designers. The studio was formed by three partners with the same passion for innovative, inspiring and sophisticated design. Thanks to their highly qualified and experienced team, Upcircle takes care of projects from beginning to completion with two main values: Sustainability and Design Excellence.

Twitter: @upcircledesign
Instagram: @upcircledesign

Exploring LFA’s 2020 theme of ‘power’, the City Benches project aspires to continue the public conversation on power of architecture at all scales. Introducing creative design ideas into Cheapside’s urban spaces will improve the people’s experience with their surroundings, encourage commuters, residents and visitors alike to enjoy local landmarks from fresh perspectives and merge with the bustle of the City’s streets.

This year, the competition was judged by an expert panel, including:

  • Brad Smith (apprentice building control officer, District Surveyor’s Office, Department of the Built Environment, City of London Corporation)
  • Clarisse Tavin (group manager, Major Programmes and Projects, City of London Corporation)
  • Dieter Kleiner (director, RCKa Architects)
  • Ellie Stathaki (architecture editor, Wallpaper*)
  • The Revd George Bush (rector, St Mary-le-Bow)
  • Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)

All of the winning teams’ benches will be installed across Cheapside as soon as it is possible to do so.

Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Festival of Architecture said:

“We are proud to be working alongside Cheapside Business Alliance for a third year, and are excited to be able to support and celebrate emerging talent across the capital, to help enliven Cheapside’s public realm. Creating an imaginative addition to the area, these public interventions will once again enhance Cheapside’s streets and transform people’s experience amidst the buzz of the City.”

Claire Dumontier-Marriage BID Manager of Cheapside Business Alliance said:

“We are delighted about our ongoing partnership with the London Festival of Architecture and are proud to be yet again supporting this fantastic competition. Cheapside’s urban realm is in a constant flux, and as the home to some of the most distinctive architecture, it is one of London’s top destinations for business and leisure. There is no better place to showcase the work of up and coming architects and designers, who will undoubtedly greatly contribute towards enhancing Square Mile’s streetscapes.”

Alastair Moss, Planning and Transportation Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“We look forward to seeing the exciting work of these design and architectural teams showcased across the Square Mile. With increasing numbers of workers, residents and visitors in the City, we are encouraging the creative transformation of the public realm to engage these communities with their surroundings in line with our vision of a vibrant 24/7 world-class destination. The City Corporation is committed to delivering a first-class environment for all to enjoy and these benches will play an important role as part of this.”

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