Studio BAD, working in collaboration with local artists and designers, has reimagined the historic Guildhall Square in Southampton into a ‘City Lounge’, creating a vivid destination over the summer for the heart of the city.

The historic civic square is located at the heart of the Cultural Quarter of the city, a large civic space with huge potential which is surrounded by museums, galleries, bars, restaurants and cafes. The designs animate the square through art and design, introducing meanwhile solutions which include an urban beach, a play area, pop up markets, performance space and temporary seating, surrounded by urban planters and street art.

To create a cohesive feel to the area the pavement is being painted in a bold pattern, creating an ‘urban rug’ to visually create a unique sense of place. The design has been inspired by the classical columns on the iconic Guildhall building, which overlook the square, creating a pixelated version of the stone detailing.

The activation and animation of the city square is part of the on-going strategy from the City Council to assist businesses with the continued need for social distancing, whilst also encourage economic recovery for the city. The plans, using the power of design to enliven the square, drawing people into the city and this new and evolving ‘destination’.

Working in collaboration with GO! Southampton, Studio BAD Architects have been involved in a series of projects to enliven and invigorate Southampton City Center, including the Bedford Place project and the City Vinyl scheme. GO! Southampton is the Business Improvement District (BID) for the city center, led and funded by local businesses with an aim to release the cities untapped potential.

Practice : Studio: B.A.D Architects

Time Scale: May 2021 – August 2021

Budget: Undisclosed

Location: Southampton, Hampshire

Client: GO! Southampton