London Festival of Architecture 2020

A series of witty and challenging benches by emerging architects and designers were unveiled this October at some of London’s largest railway stations, following a design competition organised by the LFA and Network Rail.

Clayworks is delighted to have supported Local Collective, who have created an imaginative and unusual public seating installation that uses London clay – a natural material found beneath Londoners’ feet – to offer a social furniture that is breathable and sustainable. The colourful benches can be seen at London Bridge Station.

The clay seating is finished with Clayworks Rammed Earth Finishes in a distinctive and naturally colourful depiction of the ancient building technique. The clay plaster finishes were applied by specialist artisan plasterer Guy Valentine.

‘In response to climate change, sitting on London’s Clay encourages a re-think about centuries-old construction techniques and materials.’

Local Collective

The bench’s modular system offers different arrangements, while the materiality of clay improves indoor air quality by absorbing humidity and toxins.

The engaging series of installations demonstrates how inventive architecture and design can make a real difference to the everyday travelling experience in Britain’s railway stations.

These commissions are the latest in the LFA’s series of public installations that harness and celebrate emerging architectural and design talent, while improving London’s shared spaces and connecting people with new architecture and the buildings around them.

For Network Rail – already responsible for many of Britain’s finest buildings – the series is part of an enhanced focus on applying the highest design standards across Network Rail’s built environment, whether it be new stations and signal boxes or bridges and benches.

Over 70 design teams responded to an open call for entries, and a challenge to consider how better station seating might look, with the potential for winning ideas to be replicated across stations managed by Network Rail in the future. Five were chosen to be part of the fantastic ‘Sitting Pretty’ finalists, and this clay installation can be seen at London Bridge Station.

Local Collective is a London-based art and architecture studio focusing on sustainable ways of design and living. The studio focuses on creating objects/buildings that bring people together, and this installation was also supported by Pro-Duck.  The studio is also a lab that experiments with the extraction and use of local clay deposits as construction materials.