London is set for a new Design District. Aiming to create a hub of creativity, the capital is following suit in a recent trend of architects designing small communities looking to harvest young, creative potentials.
Plopped just next to London’s iconic O2 Arena, the new Design District in the Greenwich Peninsula was the brainchild of eight smaller up-and-coming architecture firms, already boasting an ethos at the core of the district itself.
The concept of the district is to create a community where young creatives currently in the city can work, collaborate, live and socialise. Creating an environment in which new ideas and innovation can thrive.
“Creativity is what drives forward any thriving city. The Peninsula presents a unique chance to create a new permanent district designed by creatives for creatives.
At the very centre of this new community will be artists mixing with start-ups, mixing with independent market traders and design companies, large and small; everyone is welcome. We want a real mix of companies to come and to take over the place.” – Richard Margree, chief executive of Knight Dragon, the investor behind the project.
Offices, studios and workshops are all mixed up together, some remaining open for anyone to walk in. Aiming to attract people with affordable prices, rents will typically be £25 per square foot and will start from £10 per square foot for workshops suitable for people working in design, as well as art, technology, craft, music, food and digital.
But it’s not all work, that’s for sure. Enough outdoor terraces and rooftop bars to make a Londoner giddy, with outdoor film screenings, yoga sessions and plenty of bars all weaved in amongst the flats and offices.
There is even a craft beer brewery on site, following the capital’s recent obsession with the stuff.
The Market, a large food and drinks hall, will follow a similar mould to Borough Market, or slightly more accurate to scale, a Tooting Market.
Plenty of cuisines from smaller vendors from all over the world, all in an open, airy building which the creators describe as a “transparent yellow-floored caterpillar”.
Design District – “A new district dedicated to creativity, bringing together 1,800 creatives from all industries. Affordable rents, flexible spaces, a place for ideas to breathe and grow. Clean desk space, dirty workshops, collaborative areas. Car-free winding lanes filled with the buzz of activity. Visitors can stop by the market hall, play rooftop basketball and experience workshops that double as exhibition space and shops.”
The open spaces and workshops provide excellent locations for events and exhibtions also, so expect to see new attractions and events popping up for those who will live outside the district also.
The new project is part of the wider regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula, which will see a huge £8.6 billion investment ploughed into the area. It is expected to create 15,720 new homes as well as new schools, offices, health services and public spaces.
Even a new tube station!
The new injection into the area will help to relieve the pressures of capacity that the capital faces today.
While dreary Brexiteers and Remainers love to yammer on about how the country is at a lost cause, and beware of the impending doom, as other countries turn their back on Britain, one at a time.
The reality is far from that. Investment into London, particularly East London, is at an all time high and the passion shown from the eight European architecture firms picked to create the new Design District shows how the creatives of Europe particularly, want nothing more than to strenghen the links between Europe and the UK.
Architecture and design are international practices and the appetite to create in other countries has certainly not diminished post-Brexit.
(The eight practices are: 6a Architects, Mole, Architecture 00, Barrozi Veiga, SelgasCano, Assemblage, Adam Khan Architects and David Kohn Architects. Landscape architects Schulze+Grassov designed the public spaces).
Whilst politics may have let us down, we can always count on design & architecture to join together the pieces.