n 2006, an eleven-mile wide, ten-foot tall blue fence was built around Hackney Wick and Stratford in East London. The thick layers of plywood were painted with a special kind of high gloss, water resistant blue. Andy Beckett from The Guardian called it “the colour of the future.” That future is a temporary city-within-a-city; the playground for the 2012 Olympic park. The blue security barrier was installed for public safety reasons during demolition, and has recently been taken down and replaced with a wire mesh fence. One might be left to wonder, what happened to all those miles of futuristic blue?
StudioSuperniche, a collective of architects and designers based in London saw this as an opportunity to develop the Olympic Legacy Toolkit, which they described as:
The beginning of a catalogue of temporary structures to be fabricated out of the blue plywood designed to facilitate local occupation of the site post-Games, activate the vacant plots and allow communities to reclaim the vast empty landscape as their own.
Focusing on the niche user-groups of London’s Lower Lea Valley – from bird-watchers to market stall-holders, allotment keepers to model boaters – this collection of urban furniture will populate the site in the wake of the Games, offering a provisional set of tools to stimulate an evolutionary model of local participatory development.
Their designs are wonderful, and it makes me sad that the structures are only temporary. Plywood is plywood, though. Isn’t the ping pong table just awesome? The idea of finding secondary usage for things that might otherwise end up as landfill is not only super sustainable, but a beautiful art form in itself. Looking forward to more from this lovely London collective.