Royal Albert Wharf, London


Materials used

Material type Terrazzo cement in bespoke design
Project completion year 2019
Client LFA, Royal Docks Team
Architect Parallel Collective


In 2019, Royal Docks Team and London Festival of Architecture (LFA) offered emerging architects and designers a chance to create a bench along the waterside of the Royal Docs, stretching east from Canary Warf.
InOpera Group was proud to work with one of the winning practices, Parallel Collective, for this project, and the results exceeded all of our expectations.

Parallel Collective comprises a group of friends, who share the same values, diverse skills and experience. Established just under 2 years ago, they’ve already won multiple prestigious competitions, completed several impressive projects and many more are coming along the way, including a school and a public centre in Palermo, Italy.

Using various colours of natural terrazzo, they’ve created the modular seating with a coded message set in stone. The patterns and shapes of the benches spell out “Royal Docks” across its length, referencing the maritime signal flags which are an internal code system used to communicate with ships. What is remarkable is how the architects cleverly interlocked the materials with the meaning and history of the location and created a playful and elegant design that perfectly serves its practical purpose.
Terrazzo, being a by-product of natural marble, offers great flexibility in design.

For this project, we have used terrazzos of various colours, and the cubes were executed by our skilful stonemasons in Italy. Each colour piece of the bench was cut and carved from a separate terrazzo block. Once assembled, the surfaces were polished and sealed to create this smooth and unified finish.

Photo by Luke O’Donovan
The project aims to demonstrate how public realm interventions, even at a small scale, can positively impact on people’s experience of their surroundings, providing visitors with a fun and creative new series of spaces to gather on the waterfront.