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Southgate, Bath

10 Nov 2019
Case study

Woodscape had the pleasure of working with Macgregor Smith Landscape Architects, who headed up an incredible public realm enhancement project in the centre of the World Heritage City of Bath, which completed in June 2019.

The aim was to enhance the public realm environment and the opportunities for people to dwell by introducing a range of seating and sculptural elements, expanding Bath’s iconic character and design aesthetic into newer areas of the City.

“As a practice, we’re passionate about creating positive places within our cities – encouraging people to interact with their surroundings and highlighting the importance of social spaces and planting within urban contexts. The SouthGate project was a real gem for us with such an emphasis placed on the public realm, a dedication from the Client to achieving the highest quality and our huge passion for the site given its location a stone’s throw away from our studio in Bath. Working extremely closely with all the stakeholders meant we were able to achieve a design that was perfectly tailored to the unique brief for the site and it has been an absolute joy to see all the spaces being so well used and already feeling like an integral part of the fabric of the City.”
Gemma Griffin, Macgregor Smith

The central plaza within the SouthGate Centre, along with Brunel Square outside the main train station, were identified as places that could be more effectively utilised for both the everyday, and for the many events that take place in Bath throughout the year. With a variety of literature, music and art festivals, fetes, and community events aimed at bringing all ages and tastes together, the redevelopment had to be practical, flexible, and of course inspiring.

The necessary flexibility of the spaces required planter seats that were movable to allow reworking of the area for the various events. The key circular seat design with offset tree void was made up from a combination of timber slats and intricate bronze fretwork from Inspired Metal, with Woodscape bringing the necessary technical experience required to manufacture the seats in such a way that they could be relocated as needed, working alongside the team to ensure the perfect solution.

“The furniture designs were all bespoke and required specific tailoring to meet the demands of the brief. Working with the right fabricators was key to achieving a successful end product and the teams at Woodscape and Inspired Metal were integral to this process. Their wealth of experience and ability to explore innovative design solutions enabled the team to progress through from concept designs, technical details and mock ups to ensure the optimum quality of product was achieved, which met the high expectations set for this prestigious project.”
Tom Notley, Macgregor Smith

Custom metal tubular benches were produced to perfectly wrap around a series of artificial grass mounds, mimicking the ‘combes’ that are so reminiscent of the local landscape and bringing colour and life to the space. The existing large Plane tree at the heart of the space is embraced as a centrepiece within the design and encircled by a circular hardwood tree seat with bronze fretwork text exploring what makes the City unique. The space is finished off beautifully with dramatic lighting spilling out from within a striking bronze lantern, composed from intricate typography depicting an A-Z of ‘What Bath Means to Me’.

Four large circular tree seats were produced for Brunel Square, utilising a bronze finish skirt to tie into the existing Bath design aesthetic, and durable hardwood slats with L-shaped backrest, providing considerable seating space for an area with high pedestrian traffic.

“It’s always a pleasure to be part of a scheme so loved by all those involved from start to finish, and everyone at Woodscape is looking forward to seeing our street furniture enjoyed by local residents and visitors to Bath.”
Ashley Tarry, Woodscape

The scheme has been a great success, with public use of the spaces in SouthGate and in Brunel Square outside the main train station increasing dramatically. The impact of the public realm enhancements and new street furniture have already brought about a huge benefit to the area and will remain to do so as they continue to play an important role in the cultural activity at the heart of the City for years to come.