If you google “Never Mind the Bollards”, you find that it has a musical history. It’s a book – a guide to England’s Rock and Roll Landmarks – and also a musical installation in 2012 with steel bollards with different tones in Chinatown Manhattan in collaboration with Neil Nisbet for Make Music New York 2012.
In London, “Never Mind the Bollards” is a new street installation designed by public realm advisor Sarah Gaventa in the space outside the Building Centre in Store Street to encourage the public to explore the history and use of public space, to compliment the new NLA exhibition “Public Realm” which has opened inside.
In a fun and interactive way which is already attracting children to join in, “Never Mind the Bollards” aims to raise questions about our public realm – how do we want to use it, how do we make public spaces distinctive, attractive and relevant, not just sterile areas landscaped in grey granite and expensive street furniture? Successful public spaces are about the way that people use them and enjoy them and good design needs to foster this interaction, in ways that we might not always be able to predict.
The programme includes a red magazine trolley, seating, games such as skittles, a free newspaper, The Bollard Observer, tours of nearby spaces and soapbox talks where speakers have just 15 minutes to explain their views on the design and use of public spaces and ideas for the future, in its own way showing the informal and active ways that public spaces can be used.