Never Mind the Bollards


This installation, curated by public realm expert Sarah Gaventa, will explore the design history and potential future of London’s public realm. Never Mind the Bollards takes place at the same time, and complements, Public London, which will showcase the best public space projects and initiatives in London over the last 10 years.

Never Mind the Bollards will raise questions for debate such as: What is the history and use of the many things we see in the public realm – why are they there? How do we make our ordinary public spaces more attractive and inviting? How do we make them more accessible to all? Why is it that most of the design of public spaces and street furniture is by non-designers? How can we create distinctive public spaces? 

Whilst the Public London exhibition focuses on the best spaces and the strides being made to improve London’s public spaces, outside The Building Centre, South Crescent’s appearance and its contents gives us the opportunity to discuss the issues London’s spaces and users face, the history and design of the elements we see in our public spaces (including street furniture, materials, graphics and even trees), and to consider how we might design and improve spaces so that they are more inclusive and offer more to all.

Throughout the run of the exhibition there will be a mobile library containing related material and seating so that visitors can linger. There will be a free newspaper, The Bollard Observer, plus curator tours and tours of nearby spaces of interest.

As well as formal talks as part of the Public London season there will be soapbox talks in the crescent where speakers each have 15minutes to talk about the history of street furniture, the issues facing public space and new ideas for their future.  The series will respond to some of the issues raised in the installation. The Never Mind the Bollards programme can be found below, more events to be announced! 

Cycle tour with Peter Murray 
Saturday 2 May, 14:00-16:00 - for more details please click here 

Curator led tour of Never Mind the Bollards by Sarah Gaventa
Friday 5 June, 09:00-09:30

Never Mind the Bollards soapbox talk: The design and social history of our streets and public spaces
Thursday 18 June, 12:30-13:30

Public realm masterclasses - bookings will open soon 
Tuesday 23 June, 12:00-14:00, 14:30-16:30  
Wednesday 24 June, 12:00-14:00, 14:30-16:30  

Never Mind the Bollards soapbox talk: What are the major issues affecting the design of street and public spaces today? 
Friday 26 June, 12:30-13:30

Curator led tour of Never Mind the Bollards by Sarah Gaventa
Friday 10 July, 09:00 – 09:30 

Never Mind the Bollards soapbox talk: The future of London’s public spaces
Friday 10 July, 12:30 – 13:30

For more information on how to register, visit NLA.