11.06.21

The Apt Neighbourhood - LFA 2021

When the London Festival of Architecture released their theme for 2021 as 'Care', we knew immediately that we wanted to be involved, we just needed to decide how we would interpret this, and work out, what does ’care’ mean to us as a practice after such a turbulent and challenging year. 
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It is a word we have heard in endless contexts – both positive and negative - over the last 18 months. It’s a word we’ve all acted on in some way or another too, all different, but linked by the same purpose. It’s universal, it’s the provision of basic needs, but it’s also so much more – protection, concern, interest and encouragement. 

We organised an ideas charette with our events team to get the ideas flowing, and quite quickly we came to realise that there was one overarching theme that kept coming up. Community. 

Community was the thing that we had all missed so much throughout the pandemic. The ability to travel to meet friends, to eat lunch in your local park, to sit with a colleague in a local park decompressing from the day, and most of all, we had missed those chance encounters we all experience by being part of a community. Saying good morning to the bus driver, (despite rumour to the contrary, this does happen in London!), sharing a familiar smile with your favourite barista, passing your secret crush in the street, spotting a new piece of street art on your midday break, and pausing to take a photograph. So many experiences we never knew we would be without and miss so much. 

And so, we wondered how we could use this opportunity to try to bring back a bit of the community we had all missed so much, whilst still being mindful of the remaining restrictions – our solution - a community installation made up of a series of street furniture pieces, located on the pocket park opposite our studio, designed to re-engage the community and encourage friends, neighbours, and passers-by to gather, interact, use, and enjoy the space and the installations at their leisure. 
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The urban furniture pieces have been designed based on a series of ‘Apt’ shapes, which form part of our brand language, and link back to our neighbours through their material selection and function. Functions are flexible and the pieces can be used as bar tables, chess/games boards and relaxed seating. The top faces of each object will be inlaid with different sustainable and locally sourced materials.  

The theme of ‘care’ also informed our material selection. Caring for the planet is equally important to us as is caring for our community. We tried to source materials from local vendors who either have a sustainable approach or use recycled materials. Vegan leather from Panaz’s sustainable line – has been used to upholster the chairs that are designed to pair with the chess table, while the recycled plastic you see on the slide is by smile plastics - a company located right next to Waterloo station who manufacture hand-crafted panels from waste materials. The tiles were donated from Solus Ceramics as well as some further materials from Schluter.
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In the truest sense of the word ‘community’ - It was due to people and businesses coming together and offering their advice, expertise, and products that this project has been realised, demonstrating that care can take many forms.  

The pieces will begin to appear in the Agdon Street Pocket Park, opposite the Apt Studio from the 16th June. Link through to location here.

We look forward to seeing our friends, neighbours and visitors enjoying the space and the installations over the next fortnight, please do take photos and share with us on social media @thisisaptlondon using the hashtags below. 

#LFA2021 #TheAptNeighbourhood #ThisisApt

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