SOUTHBANK POP UP 2019
Location: Hungerford Bridge, London
Client: Southbank Centre
Contractor: Pankhurst Contracting
Shutters: Access Security
Services and Site Management: Southbank Centre
Traders: Truffle, The Hop Locker, Oh My Dog!
HUNGERFORD BRIDGE POP UP 2018 BACKGROUND
The Queens Walk had traditionally been used as a thoroughfare along which one can find businesses providing different types of services to visitors and passers-by.
In contrast, the London Southbank centre is one of the largest and most lively public spaces in central London attracting, each year millions of visitors drawn by both its programme and food/drink offer.
Last year, our client the Southbank Centre invited us to develop a design proposal for the entire area under the Hungerford Bridge and we decided to embrace the opportunity provided by such an urban location to turn the space into a destination by using design both to increase visibility and create a welcoming environment where people could sit and enjoy a unique meal between May and September.
The tree traders selected by Southbank were part of the design process, for it was important that the proposal also benefited all of them by providing a quality backdrop from which to draw crowds in.
As in previous years, the two food traders were located at both ends of the square and the bar in the middle, in a volume which projected into the space in a spline to help split the queues at busy times
The square was enclosed by a continuous swiping wall with a bench which provided plenty of flexible sitting overlooking the Queen’s Walk. In addition to this, tables and benches were also provided within the resulting areas.
Given the unreliability of the weather, and based on the previous year’s rain fall, canopied were provided in conjunction with projecting eaves along the swiping curved wall.
The choice of colour, a dark grey, was selected both to ensure durability and to create a neutral background for either artwork or some large scale graphics which could work with all three traders.
1. The bar was larger than the Traders required and the projection into the central part of the square combined with long queues but the space in two separated zones.
2. The back of house corridors where the bins were located had an open end to help with mobility, but this gave traders a sense of vulnerability.
3. The maintenance of the Queens walk and the use of jet washing confirmed the need to raise floors throughout
4. The height of the canopies impacted on the visibility of the traders from the opposite sides of the walk.
(PIctures from 2018)
THE 2019 PROPOSAL:
Following the positive feedback from customers, traders and our client,, in the 2019 scheme we refined the original idea of a unified temporary public square while addressing the lessons learnt.
The Canopies are lower than last year with the top, rather than the underside of them being at 2450 mm form the ground. This has helped improve the visibility of Traders’ own signage across the site.
The eaves project 1 m instead of 800 mm should it rain more than last year
The shape of the bar has been changed to a less intrusive one which will help improve visibility
The floors on all three back of house rooms for traders 1,2,3 were raised.
By introducing concave curves on the walls, we used , again, an old architectural trick to make visitors feel welcome / embraced. This, together with the continuous bench which when occupied provides an animated backdrop, allowed us to turn the space into a welcoming one.
The industrial context which had been a defining factor when looking at the overall appearance was replaced with the warmth of timber , used to soften those elements which are closest to the visitors.
Additional texture was added through the introduction of battens on the face of the panels. This gave the space an almost domestic feeling which contributed to the overall intention of creating a welcoming experience.