The site, now surrounded by new residential, hotel and office buildings, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the ruins of Bermondsey Abbey are below the finished ground.
Igloo Regeneration commissioned East to design a new public realm alongside the new building development to create spaces that could work whether full or empty, be able to support events and also thrive under everyday uses. Early on a decision to keep the privately managed space ungated, and open to the public 365 days a year was agreed upon.
East devised a dark toned background of clay paving appearing as a corded ‘baize’ running within and beyond the site edges, across Bermondsey Street. Painted ductile iron Icosohedron shaped bollards were lightly placed to manage vehicular access; designed in conjunction with artist Jon Hares. These objects relate directly to the ‘shiny trinkets’ of the silver ware and glazes of the crockery for sale at the antiques market.
Elsewhere oak beams act as permanent infrastructure for seating and meeting; situated to tie in with the 200 stall market itself. Catenary lighting covers the space, leaving the ground free for boules, cinema, market and lunchtime activities.
The project was named by Mayor of London Boris Johnson as London’s best new public space at the RTPI London Planning Awards 2011
Client: Igloo Regeneration
Project status: Completed 2010