London Festival of Architecture - Thames Bench

Upcircle won a competition for the London Festival of Architecture to design a one-off public bench to be installed in the public realm of Cheapside in London.

The Thames bench is inspired by the shape of the famous River Thames. It is a strong cultural and visual identity of the city nationally but also internationally known. Throughout history, the river sculpted and influenced the urban landscape of the city and is one of the main symbols of London.

London Festival of Architecture

From 1 to 30 of June 2020

Location: The Bloomberg, 3 Queen Victoria St, London EC4N 4TQ

The river could be interpreted as an edge, a linear physical break in the continuity of the city, but also as a path, a channel along where the observer can move, linking both sides of the London city.


The bench's shape, sculptural feature and seating function, empowers the users to understand the image of the city as a grid of connections and the importance of the river as a solid, structural and continuous element.

The Thames river is the biggest and most important river in England, and it is a relevant mark on the landscape of the country. Today with over 200 bridges, has a history of inspiration, been painted by artists such as Claude Monet and quoted in literature.

It is 215 miles long and has been an important trade route throughout history. As an important path, the most iconic architecture landmarks of London stand next to it, connecting the city's monuments and identity symbols. Thames river is a London postcard, and so all the important natural or built elements that make part of the image of the city.

The bench location is the prestigious The Bloomberg European headquarters designed by Foster & Partners. It is one of the most environmentally friendly office buildings ever conceived and has been named the winner of the 2018 Stirling prize.

The material chosen to produce the bench is MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME, a board that is characterised by its durability, dimensional stability and reliability properties. It is made using a high-performance resin which is also zero added formaldehyde, and FSC® certified. It is 50 years warranty for external use and longer lasting, greatly suitable for outdoor use.

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