Leicester Square plan sparks design harvest

Designers look set to benefit from a proposed £18.5m revamp of London’s Leicester Square, which aims to turn the West End site into a ‘world class’ tourist destination. Westminster City Council and the Heart of London Business Alliance have been working together on the new concept designs for the square, its gardens and the nine side streets that surround it.

As part of the concept design, by urban design group Burns & Nice, there will be new contemporary granite paving, state-of-the art functional and decorative lighting, a ‘unique and original’ white granite ribbon seating design, a new building to replace the existing half-price ticket booth, cont emporary planting and new bronze railings and gates, as well as a complete refurbishment of the square’s toilets. It is also hoped that if Transport for London’s Legible London signage and wayfinding gets the green light, this scheme will be rolled out to the area.

‘There will be a decorative lighting design aspect and we want this to be really special,’ says Leicester Square project manager at Westminster Council, Roger Austin. ‘It is all about being unique. There will also be street furniture applied in terms of an iconic bench, which could perhaps take the form of a director’s chair because of the cinema aspect of the square. We will be looking for designers to come up with ideas for these as well as public art and temporary, permanent and semipermanent installations.’

Various tenders for the design work will begin to appear on the Westminster Council website, www.westminster.gov.uk, as the process advances.

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