We are very proud that Patrick McEvoy of our London office is one of 3 winners in a competition organised by the London Festival of Architecture to design a temporary public space for a site within the square mile of the City of London. Architects, designers and artists were invited to submit a design proposal for a ‘parklet’ that will transform a kerbside area into a place to rest, relax and admire the City – bringing additional life and greenery to the City’s streets and public spaces during the world’s largest annual architecture festival. The proposal will be in place from June 1st - 30th on St Martins Le Grand.
‘Today I’m a screever, and as you can see
A screever’s an artist of ‘ighest degree
And it’s all me own work from me own memory
Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo!
I draws what I likes, and I likes what I drew’
Pavement Artist (Chim Chim Cher-Ee) from Mary Poppins
The proposed parklet celebrates London’s screevers. Screever is a historic term for pavement artist, originating from London and dating back to Shakespearian times. These artists traditionally chalk onto the pavement and their illustrations exist only for a short time before being washed away by rain or gradually scrubbed off under foot. The act of drawing becomes a performance in itself, activating the footpath and drawing in bystanders; the street surface becoming the boundary between the hum-drum of the street and the fantastical world of the screever.
The York stone slabs visible throughout the City of London form a canvas for the city’s pavement artists. The Parklet therefore presents reclaimed London flagstones on a series timber easels. Raising the stones makes them accessible to passers by and encourages them to interact. This allows the people of London to animate the parklet by chalking onto the surface of the stone.
The colour palette is derived from traditional chalk colours. The joists forming the easels and decking are sprayed with chalk paint, a specialist paint for marking pavements typically used by utilities companies that is designed to fade away over a 2-3 month period.
Alike a screever’s illustrations, the coloured joists and street markings should gently disappear over the course of the festival.