Having recently relocated our office to the heart of London’s Soho, we wanted to find a way to help local hospitality operators to reopen once social distancing was in place. With so many tiny sites that make Soho so special, it would have been unviable for many restaurants to re-open without additional external space. We initially approached a raft of operators to see if they were interested, and then worked with them and the two major landlords- Shaftesbury and Soho Estates to help plan, promote and realise a vision for a pedestrianised Soho – which has proved to be a resounding success.
The ideas developed from our more design led initial proposals for more permanent street furniture occupying the street, to more of a strategic approach with temporary furniture to create a very civilised and positive experience.
Out of the summer work has come an alliance of businesses – the Soho Business Alliance – a group for coordinated action and lobbying for businesses across Soho. We have recently been working with them on Phase Two of the project to continue beyond the winter – a vision of the pedestrianised scheme.
The streets of Soho over the summer