The parklet craze has finally touched down on the streets of London. Local design collective WMBstudio recently installed ParkedBench, a portable micro-park that replaces two side-street parking spaces with greenery-filled public seating. Winner of the 2015 Fresh Air Squares competition, the modular urban intervention was built from low-cost materials and furnished with diverse plantings, sculptural seating, and an air quality monitor.
Supported by the Transport for London Future Streets incubator fund, ParkedBench was installed at Tooley Street near the London Bridge, where it was unveiled November 20, 2015. The micro-park is almost entirely constructed from standard scaffolding boards. The sculptural bench zigzags across the space and visually pops out from its surroundings thanks to the painted-red slatted board seating. Geometric galvanized steel plant pots filled with carefully selected plants that mitigate air pollution fit into the gaps. An air quality monitor feeds real-time data to a Kings College London-designed app and website that collects citywide air quality data.
“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,” write the designers. “The resulting interwoven seating and planting provide a buffer zone to the busy road, and create an organic extension of the pavement.” The parklet can be easily scaled and modified to fit different spaces.
The ParkedBench is the first micro-park created as part of the Team London Bridge ‘Fresh Air Squares’ initiative and will stay in place for a year. Three more Fresh Air Square micro-parks will be added to the London Bridge area in 2016. All parklets will be modular, transportable, easily modified, and include planting, seating, an air quality monitor, and sustainable urban drainage.
Images via WMBstudio