Maltese company leaves its mark in London with design of kiosks for royal parks
Maltese designers have left their mark in London with the design for new kiosks at the royal parks. The project, which took four years to complete, came to an end over the last few weeks with the installation of the last kiosk, very close to Buckingham Palace. For Mizzi Studio, this was the most significant project they have ever been commissioned to do in the capital city.
The heart of London is replete with large stretches of green lawn. Organised into 8 parks, they offer space for recreation to thousands and before the pandemic, more than 75 million people used to visit them each year. In this beautiful environment, one becomes peckish and looks for somewhere to eat and drink.
The nine new kiosks are replacing the old ones previously found in Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park, and a new cafeteria at Serpentine Lake. The Maltese company Mizzi Studio was chosen following a call for tenders in which it joined forces with the artisanal brand Colicci which is involve in the food industry at these parks.
Director Jonathan Mizzi explained that every kiosk is unique to the location it has been placed at. He pointed out that the parks are scheduled and protected at the highest grade and therefore it is important for every structure to blend with the environment and reflect the principles of sustainability. He said that the common factor in the design are the canopies, inspired by nature, which jut out like tree branches.
“We wanted pieces that were sighted softly within the landscape, that were an extension of the park. That is why we looked at this as gracious tree like sculpture. They are functional tree sculptures. They are ambassadors to the park.”
The most prominent kiosk was the last to be installed – that at St James’s Park, in front of Buckingham Palace. Jonathan Mizzi explains why copper was used for this kiosk.
“To echo the Queen Victoria memorial which is in front of Buckingham Palace. Also there is that sense of nobility, of regality that comes with that and that we wanted to mirror.”
Mr Mizzi believes that public architecture is a way for people to relax and come together. He said that one of the challenges was that the kiosks would not just be a place to buy food and drink. He said that from a technical point of view, the design needed to keep in mind that the structures can be removed quickly.
“Engineering all that sculpture to be able to be moved without having its integrity and form compromised was a real challenge to the engineers and they did a real fantastic job.”
We asked Jonathan Mizzi what happened to the project which had generated so much interest among the Maltese. Two years ago he had launched the design of a new version of the old Maltese buses. He said that the authorities had supported the project, however the pandemic has delayed the studies they wanted to carry out. He sounded confident that with all of Europe talking about a recovery which would pay more attention to the environment, this project can take the next step forward.
“What better way to recover by building one of our oldest heritage icons . . . with sustainability, environment and heritage at the forefront.”
Mizzi Studio will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary