Quintain launches Samovar Space at Wembley Park

Build to Rent developer Quintain opens Samovar Space to the public – an area which has been designed by and for young people.

Samovar Space at Quintain's Wembley Park, an area designed by and for young people | BTR News
Samovar Space at Quintain's Wembley Park, an area designed by and for young people.

Quintain, the developer of London’s Wembley Park, opens Samovar Space to the public, an area designed by and for young people in recognition of the value of their role in inclusive urban design.

Situated along the Olympic Way at the foot of the Olympic Steps, the space was launched as part of the LSE Apprenticeship in City Design, delivered in partnership with, and funded by, Quintain. The apprenticeship aims to empower young people to become directly involved in community design benefitting under-represented groups in the built environment. The project is the result of 26 months of collaboration with five apprentices ages 16–24, who undertook learning and working experience at the LSE, and paid at a standard researcher rate.

Samovar Space was created to be a sociable, open-air space where people could spend time without having to spend money. The apprentices’ chosen themes of Collaborate, Calm, and Consume emerged as ideas to provide design intention without strict definitions or rules for the project, designed around a purpose-built Sound Shell designed by Flanagan Lawrence that will host events for young people throughout the year.

“It is a sad fact that young people’s needs are often overlooked when it comes to the built environment. With Samovar Space, we wanted to give this demographic a place to hang out and so we set the LSE apprentices the task of designing something they felt was fitting. It’s important for us that alongside all the changes local people are seeing at Wembley Park it remains an inclusive neighbourhood for all, and so we are proud to have worked with the talented LSE apprentices to deliver this special project.”

Julian Tollast, Head of Masterplanning and Design, Quintain
Samovar Space in Wembley Park | BTR News
Samovar Space in Wembley Park. Photo credit: Chris Winter / Wembley Park

Samovar Space takes its name from a large, communal kettle popularly used to brew tea in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Associated with family events and community gatherings, a samovar epitomises the welcoming and non-commercial spirit that the apprentices wanted their proposal to embrace.

“In establishing the Apprenticeship in City Design I wanted to think of a method for engaging with young people that could be sustained over a long period of time taking a project from conception through to completion; and in doing so give young people the tools to research their own experiences, inform design processes and have a voice in planning and development.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn greater attention to how important it is to have an inclusive public space, but if young people are absent from the design, decision making and planning process, how can we ensure that spaces are truly for them? It has been a great privilege to work with this group of young people who have shown that when local young people are included, they can easily articulate their unmet needs.”

Dr. Julia King, Research Fellow, LSE, and Programme Lead, Samovar Space

The Apprenticeship in City Design is a legacy project of Brent London Borough of Culture 2020, of which Quintain was a principal partner, and has been developed and led by Dr Julia King, a research fellow at LSE Cities. The space was designed in collaboration with architects Flanagan Lawrence who worked with the Apprentices through an iterative process to help translate their initial conceptual ideas into realisable spatial solutions. The space also includes a site-specific floor mural – Think Independently, Together – by multidisciplinary artist Lois O’Hara and developed alongside young local adults whose feedback shaped the final artwork.

“Collaborating with the LSE apprentices to help realise their vision for the Samovar Space has been a unique and enlightening experience, and the process, led by Dr Julia King, LSE’s programme lead, has developed an innovative approach to involving community groups in the design of inclusive public space.”

Jason Flanagan, Partner, Flanagan Lawrence