Orange Chair – What’s in a place: Reimagining Britain’s Town Centres

As Leslie Jones Architecture launches a new partnership to help reimagine town centres, James Cons Managing Director of Leslie Jones Architecture speaks with Mark Faithfull to discuss why adapting uses and the power of brand need to be completely rethought.

Sitting in his offices in North West London James speculates that the reorientation of retailing and, more importantly, town centres, will revolve around distressed assets and the repurposing of large anchor space. He also feels that the catalyst for change will be the embracing of new formats.

It is with such new solutions in mind that LJA has formed a partnership with The Yard Creative to launch a JV that interprets physical places as brands.

LEFTside RIGHTside applies a brand lens to cities, places and spaces, giving them an ‘ownable’ identity and purpose that resonates with its community audience.

To establish the potential paths forward, the new venture conducts research and gathers data, which is analysed and experience mapped to create a unique brand proposition for the destination, the physical design is driven by the intelligence, creating innovative future focused solutions for cities, places and spaces.

Cons says: “The cookie-cutter has well and truly been put back in the kitchen drawer. The future is about bespoke, location-specific solutions. I still believe that there is a strong future for the major shopping centres, but it is the peripheral centres and towns where radical rethinking is required. That’s where this new partnership comes in. It’s a holistic, complete approach, which is what town centres need.”

The new offer is already being put to use at Quintain’s emerging Wembley Park. Leslie Jones Architecture has led the retail masterplan for the 87-acre site since 2004, including the delivery of London Designer Outlet and its car park, as well as a car and coach park to the east of the stadium and a 312-room Premier Inn.

Cons adds: “This project has been a case in point, where the input of LEFTside RIGHTside has built from scratch a new concept, offer, brand and place for the growing community.”