Kensington and Chelsea, London, UK
Heatherwick Studio was approached by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in London, about developing a structure to replace some of the borough’s newspaper kiosks.
We learnt that, every morning, a newspaper seller could spend more than an hour, in all weathers, setting out all the newspapers and magazines on their stall. When it is closed at night, the kiosk becomes a dead, uninteresting object. It is made from plastic and fibreglass that becomes scratched and faded with age, while the flat shutters it needs to protect it from vandalism force the kiosk to be the shape of a box and perversely invite people to put stickers or graffiti on them.
We set ourselves the task of designing a newspaper kiosk that could be set up in a quarter of an hour and looked for a way to make the kiosk secure without flat shutters or hinged panels. Instead of a door or shutter, we gave it a geometry that enabled curved walls at each end of the kiosk to rotate open. The kiosk’s stepped shape comes from the stepped tiers of shelving that hold the magazines in place, where they can be left overnight, ready for the next day. Its uppermost tier is a window that brings daylight into the kiosk’s interior and allows a light to shine out of the kiosk at night, making it feel like a nightlight for the street. Fabricated in bronze, these kiosks can be seen on the streets of the Royal Borough at Sloane Square and Earl’s Court.