Welcome to The Bird Street Oasis

As pop ups become more and more popular and people expect so much more from their shopping experiences, even international shopping destination Oxford Street faces challenges. In response, New West End Company (NWEC) with Harry Dobbs Design (HDD) have launched The Bird Street Smart Oasis, transforming a down-at-heal cul-de-sac off Oxford Street into a unique new public space that pilots innovative design ideas for the West End.

Photo by Mark Cocksedge

Photo by Mark Cocksedge

HDD, approached NWEC in 2015, seeing  potential in the many neglected side streets sitting only yards from Europe’s highest footfall retail area. We’ve all seen them. Strange lengths of grey, usually with one of those random old toilets you have to put a coin into to open. The teams have been working closely together since, to design and deliver a 2 year pilot scheme.

Photo by Mark Cocksedge

This ‘Smart Trading Oasis’ as they have labeled it (little bit of corporate speak there for you) is arranged around a 50m long trading facade, that will host a seasonal program of independent retailers and product launches. Vibrantly coloured faceted forms that glow at night, raise the aesthetic of Origami decorations to an architectural scale. The street surfaces have also been upgraded with new benches, planting, and an Astroturf street surface by Atkins.

Photo by Mark Cocksedge

 

Excitingly, experimental street technologies can be experienced by the public, including Air Cleaning technologies by Airlabs and Airlite, and electricity generative paving by Pavegen. Bird Street illustrates the opportunity for fresh design thinking to re-purpose an area’s underused spaces into valuable, memorable and exciting new destinations. We can think of lots more places around London and beyond where schemes like this are needed. More please!

 

www.harrydobbs.com

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