ParkedBench – Fresh Air Squares, London, 2015
WMBstudio are a Liverpool and London based design collective founded by Daniel Wiltshire, Frances McGeown and Ed Butler. The studio approaches projects by exploring the dynamics between craft/technology, iteration/innovation, found/designed, and aims to combine elements of art, architecture, and product design. This portable micro-park replaces two standard car parking spaces, to provide urban greening, public seating, and air quality monitoring functions.
The London and Liverpool-based studio was tasked with creating a mobile micro-green space. Installed on Tooley Street, near London Bridge, the “parklet” features a zigzagging bench built using scaffolding boards. The wood has been left untreated to allow for natural weathering.
The approach was to create a singular sculptural seating element around which zones of planting and small pockets of public space could occur and overlap, encouraging passers-by to stop and gather. The resulting interwoven seating and planting provide a buffer zone to the busy road, and create an organic extension of the pavement. Materials are low cost and off-the shelf, with the bench and base elements constructed entirely from standard scaffolding boards.
The parklet also houses an air quality monitor that feeds real-time data to an app and website designed by Kings College London, forming part of their wider network of air quality data collection points within London. This first parklet has been delivered as part of the Team London Bridge ‘Fresh Air Squares’ initiative, supported by the Transport for London Future Streets Incubator fund, with further versions due to be installed in the London Bridge area in 2016.