The Blue

2019–21

Assemble have worked in close collaboration with Hayatsu Architects and Stinsensqueeze on a series of careful interventions that aim to revitalize the Blue, Bermondsey’s historic market and town centre.

The Blue has a long history as a market, during its heyday in the 19th Century it was said that you could get anything ‘down the Blue’ at one of its 200 stalls. With the decline of local industry and the closure of Surrey Docks the market has become disconnected from the wider area, and this project spearheaded by the local community aimed to revive it and restore its place in the local landscape.

The project aimed to both connect the market better to surrounding areas and to reinvigorate the marketplace itself to better provide for the market and the community that use it.

The connections to the Blue included introducing new cut through routes, and locating new way-finding signage and community murals to decorate the routes to and from various key local businesses.

The market place itself has been overhauled with the introduction of a series of new civic structures, bespoke furniture, reinvigorated planting and paving and other improvements that enrich what was already there. 

Where possible materials are organic and recycled, with the clock tower and market canopies resting on massive oak structures, timber bollards, oak benches and the existing concrete bollards  have been coloured and reused alongside wedges of Granby rock containing local demolition waste.

Assemble’s studios, Sugarhouse Studios, are only five minutes’ walk away from the market place, and host both Hayatsu Architects and Stinsensqueeze. The design team together endeavoured to make the project as locally oriented and specific as possible by working with local manufacturers and fabricators alongside the local community. 

Material decisions and graphical language borrow from historic cues such as the tin can tiles on the clock-tower inspired by Bermondsey being the first plan in the world to produce tin cans, and which were made at a local factory.

The project is funded by the Greater London Authority through the Good Growth Fund and the client team includes representatives from Southwark Council, the Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District and other local organisations.

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