Wednesday, 9 July 2008

re:fresh Regent's Canal

Anyone walking or cycling along the Regent's Canal last Sunday will have been surprised by some curious events, including the sound of horses' hooves under bridges, King's Cross development displays and a mustachioed man in a top hat telling passerby the history of ice cream in an outrageous Italian accent. All this activity was the product of 're:fresh Regent's Canal', part of the London Festival of Architecture and sponsored by Conisbee, Argent and British Waterways.

The King's Cross-based design studio I co-founded last year designed the identity, website & programme brochure for the event, as well as signage throughout KX to help people find their way around this sometimes confusing area. We were kept on our toes with related projects, too, such as an educational activity booth for Thornhill Community Gardens which went down a hit with local kids and parents. In fact, whenever I stopped by, the adults were the ones 'restocking the warehouses' in a game we designed based on a 19th-century industry map of Battlebridge Basin.

Keeping our installation up against the uncooperative forces of nature was a challenge, but people enjoyed the unexpected sound of hoofbeats under the Maiden Lane bridge, a reminder of the days when the towpaths were used for labour rather than leisure.

It was great to be part of this event, with such an exciting mix of history, community and future development of the KX area. From the ineffable actor playing ice entrepreneur Carlo Gatti, to those who took part in the construction (and destruction) of an oragami city, participants and visitors seemed to have lots of fun - despite the wind and rain!

Check out photos of the event on Flickr
or visit the website at

Rebecca Pohancenik

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