London 2021 City Benches Competition, English Design Contest Photos, News

2021 City Benches Competition Winners

29 Apr 2021
Nine emerging teams revealed as winners of 2021 City Benches competition
The London Festival of Architecture (LFA), Cheapside Business Alliance and Aldgate Connect BID have announced the nine design teams who have been selected as the winners of the 2021 City Benches competition. Now in its fourth year, the project will see a playful new series of one-off public benches brighten the streetscape across Cheapside and Aldgate during the London Festival of Architecture this June.

Architecture students, recent graduates and emerging architects and designers from all disciplines were invited to submit innovative bench proposals for the public to sit, relax and make the most of their surroundings. Selected from over 70 entries, the nine winning teams offered an imaginative take on seating design and a creative response to the Festival’s 2021 theme of ‘care’. The teams each demonstrated a focus on safely bringing people together again through engaging, accessible and sustainable design solutions – welcoming commuters, visitors and Londoners back to the area with inclusive spaces for everyone to meet and interact, while adhering to COVID-19 guidance and social distancing.

London Festival of Architecture City Benches Competition

The nine winning teams are:


2021 City Benches Competition 10F

10F is a collaborative research and design practice working between urban and human scales, founded by siblings Jane and Arthur Wong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, now based between London and Rotterdam, they translate political, social and environmental narratives into design strategies and material processes.

Ex Architectures with Flu-or Arquitectura

2021 City Benches Competition Ex Architectures + Flu-or Arquitectura

Ex Architectures is a design and build studio combining performance art, architecture and woodwork; making furniture and spaces that connect with people in new and interesting ways. Founded in 2019, the studio collaborates with artists and designers whilst seeking sustainable timber sources in Galicia for its projects in London. Flu-or Arquitectura is a vibrant, creative, and well-established architecture studio based in the city of A Coruña, Spain. Their work is sympathetic to the public, as well as engaging with ephemeral forms of architecture. The team is sponsored by Finsa and Rubio Monocoat.

Jelly Collaborative

2021 City Benches Competition Jelly Collaborative

Jelly Collaborative is a design and architecture studio founded by Kelly Au and Jennifer Ge in 2020. The studio experiments with colour and material in order to deliver playful and unexpected designs while focusing on the collaborative process between designers and clients.

Lisa McDanell Studio

2021 City Benches Competition Lisa McDanell Studio

Lisa McDanell is a London based architect and maker who is passionate about creating places for people to experience moments of joy in the everyday. Collaborative practice is key to Lisa’s process, and a strong social and environmental agenda is always at the heart of each project. This project is in collaboration with Mahers Model Makers.

Nick Green

2021 City Benches Competition Nick Green

Nick is an Edinburgh-based architect motivated by ‘design through making’. Often engaging with makers, his work explores the innovative use of materials, colour and craft. Nick recently joined Helen Lucas Architects, having previously worked for practices in Scotland and Denmark on a variety of finely-detailed domestic, public, and community-focused projects.

NVBL with Webb Yates, The Stone Carving Company and The Stone Masonry Company

2021 City Benches Competition NVBL Webb Yates

NVBL is a London based architecture office dedicated to design, construction, and research. Founded and directed by Nichola V. Barrington-Leach, the practice’s work embodies a high quality, sustainable and sensitive design approach. For this project, NVBL is collaborating with Webb Yates – a multidisciplinary engineering practice based in London, Birmingham and Bristol -, the Stone Carving Company, a professional group of stone craftsman and sculptors with over 25 years’ experience and the Stone Masonry Company.

Pebble Haus

2021 City Benches Competition Pebble Haus

Pebble Haus is a young cross-disciplinary collective formed in 2021 by friends Andres Panduro, Jerry Florez and Dominika Pilch. The team strive to create meaningful experiences, ranging from spatial design to visual arts and performance.

Sohanna Srinivasan in collaboration with Joyce and Joyce Joinery

2021 City Benches Competition Sohanna Srinivasan

Sohanna Srinivasan is a London-based architect of Indian origin and Middle Eastern upbringing. Her practice explores identity, community, and sense of place with a keen interest in pluralistic narratives and bringing under-represented voices out of the background. Joyce and Joyce is a Deptford-based company specialising in joinery, furniture and cabinetry.

The Mad Hatters

2021 City Benches Competition The Mad Hatters

Established in 2021, The Mad Hatters are a London based duo who enjoy the celebration of colourful and playful designs that focus on community and construction processes. They aim to create spaces that actively engage the public and encourage spontaneous social interaction through environmentally conscious designs.

With the installation locations for the winning benches expanding into Aldgate for the first time this summer, the competition hopes to build on the success of the past three years, to continue showcasing how architecture at any scale can have a positive impact on the capital’s public realm and can transform people’s experience of their surroundings. As part of this, the competition offers the unique opportunity to celebrate ties with the local community and the heritage of the area, encouraging both locals and visitors to pause and rediscover these vibrant areas of the City from a different perspective.

This year, the competition was judged by an expert panel comprising Yigong Zhang (Urban Designer, Perkins & Will and co-chair, Aldgate BID Public Realm Steering Group), Charlotte Fletcher (chair, Cheapside Business Alliance board and senior director, CBRE), Laura King (director, KPF), Ellie Stathaki (architecture editor, Wallpaper*) and Rosa Rogina, (programme director, London Festival of Architecture & New London Architecture)

All winning teams will now be awarded £800 to develop, manufacture and install their bench, ready to be enjoyed by the public during the London Festival of Architecture 2021.

Rosa Rogina, programme director of New London Architecture and the London Festival of Architecture, said:

“Every year, the City Benches is always a popular part of the LFA programme – both in person and on social media. With the ongoing support of Cheapside Business Alliance and our new partners at Aldgate Connect BID, we are thrilled to be able to continue championing the work of emerging architects by expanding the project and delivering nine unique new benches this summer. During the judging process, it’s been great to see how each of the winning teams has tapped into our 2021 theme of ‘care’ in a different way – exploring care for the community, our capital’s architecture, and the environment. We can’t wait to see how these imaginative benches will enhance people’s experience of the wider City’s public realm, and safely welcoming everyone back to the capital.”

Zoe Barwick, BID manager, Aldgate Connect Business Improve District, said:

“It has been fantastic to work with the London Festival of Architecture and Cheapside Business Alliance on the competition this year, to support and champion the work of emerging talent across our public realm. We’ve been delighted to see the competition receive such a diverse range of entries from across disciplines, and the winning team’s passion and bold responses to the brief really shine through in the thoughtful and playful designs. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to enjoy these vibrant design installations in Aldgate’s streets this June.

Community inclusiveness is central to Aldgate Connect and we are proud to implement this programme as it really embodies themes of equality, diversity and inclusion of the whole of society.”

Claire Dumontier-Marriage BID Manager of Cheapside Business Alliance said:

“We are proud to be part of the London Festival of Architecture once again, supporting this fantastic competition and the work of emerging architects and designers for a fourth year. The 2021 winning cohort has impressed us with their innovative approach to sustainability and careful consideration of inclusivity and accessibility. It’ll be brilliant to see how these imaginative bench designs transform our streets throughout the summer, creating space for everyone to make the most of Cheapside’s public realm and distinctive architecture.”

Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, Alastair Moss, says:

“We look forward to the winning bench designs being installed across the City this summer as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Many more residents, workers and visitors are expected to return to the Square Mile in line with the easing of coronavirus restrictions and so these imaginative outdoor seating options are welcome additions to the City’s first-class public realm.”


The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is the world’s largest annual architecture festival and is exploring the theme of ‘care’ through a hybrid programme in 2021. The LFA’s mission is to support London’s architectural and design talent, enthuse and engage with the public, and find new ways to look at familiar places.

In 2020 the LFA explored the theme of power, and celebrated innovation and design through a digital events programme last June. The 2019 edition of the LFA inspired over 600 events across the capital, attracting over 800,000 visitors and a global audience of 138 million. A year-round programme of design competitions, design charrettes, campaigns and other activities also champions London as the best place in the world to practice and enjoy architecture.

Twitter: @LFArchitecture
Instagram: @LondonFestivalofArchitecture

The Cheapside Business Alliance is a Business Improvement District and was set up in 2015 with the City Corporation as the BID proposer. Together CBA and the CoL deliver key initiatives that enhance and showcase Cheapside as a world class destination.

Aldgate Connect is a Business Improvement District set up in April 2020 raising £3.9 million over 5 years. With a vast array of cultures, businesses and places to enjoy, it makes this area one of the most diverse and exciting places to be, work, visit and live.

Together with the local authority partners, (City of London and London Borough of Tower Hamlets) the BID works with the community to enhance it as a destination for all. Inspiration and inclusivity is at the heart of the BID’s ambitions -working on programmes and projects that make it a more appealing, welcoming, stronger and safer area.

Royal Docks London Design Competition information received 290421

Previously on e-architect:

17 December 2020

Royal Docks London Bench Design Competition News

Pews and Perches Design Contest news

London Festival of Architecture and Royal Docks Team unveil winning designs for 2020 ‘Pews and Perches’ competition

A series of five new benches designed by emerging architects – the winners of a competition organised the London Festival of Architecture and Royal Docks Team – have been unveiled across the Royal Docks.

All photos © Luke O’Donovan

ELE-Bench by RAB Studio
Thames Barrier Park

ELE-Bench by RAB Studio at Royal Docks London

Water, water everywhere by Betty Owoo and Quincy Haynes
Royal Victoria Gardens

Royal Docks London Bench Designs Water, water everywhere by Betty Owoo and Quincy Haynes

The Royal Resonance by CAST (Chutimon Suetragulwong, Austin Joseph, Sonam Dahya, Tyler Natdanai)
Outside UTC College

Royal Docks London Bench Design The Royal Resonance by CAST

Afloat by Ben Child and Luca Luci
Connaught Crossing North

Royal Docks London Bench Designs Afloat

The Rocking Bench by Duncan Graham
Thames Barrier Park

Royal Docks London Rocking Bench by Duncan Graham

Royal Docks London Design Competition News

Transforming London’s Royal Docks with water sensitive urban design – new open ideas design competition is announced.

Royal Docks London Contest
Design: Heatherwick Studio
Royal Docks London Contest design by Heatherwick Studio
image from London Development Agency
Royal Docks London Design Competition – proposal by UK designers Heatherwick Studio

Albert Island, Royal Docks London Development – 2018

Silver Building in the Royal Docks, London – 2017

Royal Docks London Regeneration Proposals – 2016

Royal Docks Cable Car – 2013

Another Royal Docks London design on e-architect:

Royal Docks Business Park
Design: KCAP with Maccreanor Lavington Architects
Royal Docks Business Park London design
image from architect
Royal Docks Business Park

Location: Royal Albert Way, London, England, UK

London Buildings

Contemporary London Architecture Designs

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architecture Tours by e-architect

London Architects Offices

London Architecture

Royal Docks London Regeneration Proposals

London Olympic Stadium
HOK Sport – Peter Cook

London designs by Thomas Heatherwick – Selection:

Paperhouse, Kensington & Chelsea, west London
Paperhouse : Newspaper Kiosk design

Rolling Bridge, west London
Rolling Bridge

Key design by Thomas Heatherwick:

Shanghai Expo – UK Pavilion, China
Shanghai Expo UK Pavilion

Another Royal Docks building on e-architect:

Silvertown Quays
Silvertown Quays Royal Docks

The Shard
Design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)

Royal Academy of Arts London

Royal Courts of Justice London

Royal Danish Embassy

City of London post-COVID design competition

Comments / photos for the Royal Docks Redevelopment London page welcome