Rathbone Square

Rathbone Square is a tranquil area just a few moments away from the height of one of London's busiest shopping districts. Two over-spilling water tables and a series of channels lowered directly into the flowerbeds give this space the perfect final touch.

Set in the centre of London’s premier shopping district, Rathbone Square offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the Oxford Street rush. As you enter the Square, you are greeted by our water features, two overspilling water tables and a series of shallow water channels, which perfectly compliments the hive of activity that the combined residential, office, and shopping experiences create.

When designing the Square, Gustafson Porter + Bowman placed emphasis on the way in which water could be used in tandem with the trees and green spaces that are pivotal to this area. As such, we created water tables that reflect the Square’s trees and plants. The flow of the water as it breaches the edge of the tables gives this space a sense of movement as it distorts the reflections.

The two water tables, at either end of the Square, are visually connected by water channels that lead you through the space. These shallow rills course their way around the space, providing a tranquil pathway through a centre of urban living. The theme of combining water and greenery within the space is further continued here as these rills are set directly into the many flowerbeds that define the Square. The combination of water and vegetation builds on the overall theme of life, bring together the various elements that make up the Rathbone Square area.

The dark stone plinths that form the water tables and hold the flowerbed-inset water rills offer a stark contrast to the deliberately bright paving, brickwork, and grassy areas. This not only draws the eye to these centrepieces but also makes them visible from the busy street outside, drawing people into Rathbone Square.

Project Facts

  • Location: Fitzrovia, London
  • Client: Great Portland Estates
  • Services: Design, build, management
  • Features: Water tables, rills
  • Partners: Gustafson Porter + Bowman, Make Architects, Maylim, Miller Druck
  • Photography: Allan Owen