An exciting new experience is coming to Wimbledon – Hartfield Walk.
Looking for a space to escape the hustle and bustle of the town, sit and read a book in the afternoon sunshine, grab a bite for lunch or meet and connect with friends and family? This exciting new space will be all of that and more.
Developed by Love Wimbledon, in collaboration with local creative business Firecracker Works, this project will transform and improve the walkway area between Blacks and Robert Dyas on The Broadway, leading to the Hartfield Road car park. Recognising the need for more seating in the town centre, Love Wimbledon applied for and secured funding from Merton Council, which has allowed the project to come to fruition, at a time where more residents are exploring their local area.
Hartfield Walk will feature an amalgamation of planting, seating, market kiosks, lighting, environmental games and art, all carefully designed to inspire local people of all ages to go greener, through references to combatting air pollution and climate change.
We sat down with two of the great minds who have helped design the project, which is coming soon to our town, to find out more.
Sally Warren (Strategic Marketing Adviser at Love Wimbledon)
Why did you choose this space to create an eco – messaged new space?
Currently Hartfield Walk (although it doesn’t have a name – yet!) acts more of a through-fare than a place to dwell, the space has sparks of something exciting – it is really central and there are a couple of good food stalls on there. We continually get feedback that Wimbledon needs spicing up a bit, and greening, and places to sit – the central location and the underutilisation of this space, provided the perfect platform to green-up and go further, new kiosks for the stalls (enviro – friendly) and enticing messaging and games to open the dialogue about sustainability.
How have you chosen who to work with on the project and what do they bring to the project?
We approached Firecracker Works as they were a local business, (in the town centre). They work with a range of clients, from fashion to FMCG, and have a real edge and creative nouse, but are also pragmatic and deliver. Our aim is to ‘buy local’ where possible, and we are really lucky to have a successful design and creative business like theirs, on our doorstep.
How do you see the space being used, now and in the future?
The project is a major collaboration, with artists, designers, Love Wimbledon, Sustainable Merton and of course, the current and future stallholders, all bringing their own refreshing elements. From creating green roofs which can flower in a shady place to designing bespoke cycle racks, the space will give a little bit of respite this spring as things start to return to normal. A big thank you to the adjoining landlords BMO, The All England Tennis Club and Merton Council who have all helped make it happen operationally.
How will it be used?
Well I for one, am looking forward to getting my first Thai meal where I can sit outside amongst plants and watch the world go by – oh and Firecracker Works have promised to meet us there (they love the coffee!). That’s what its about – a place to sit and enjoy being outside, in central Wimbledon.
Lee Cuffe (Head of Creative at Firecracker Works)
How did you come up with the idea of developing an eco-space with Love Wimbledon?
The creative ideas for Hartfield Walk were inspired by the High Line in New York City and adding greenery to an area where there is very little. A beautifully landscaped garden, sat on a disused railway line, in the heart of a bustling and built-up area of the city. It is an amazing place to escape to and we wanted to create a small pocket of this, for Wimbledon Town Centre. The idea to make this an eco-space came from reading an article on air pollution in the Metro. Reading this article sparked an idea of using the space to help make a difference. The two ideas seemed to work harmoniously together and so Hartfield Walk was born. Working collaboratively with Love Wimbledon we have really developed and focused these ideas into something that has a local feel, that engages the community and really tries to capture the spirit of Wimbledon.
What are you most excited about seeing being created in the space?
To see the space come to life and see the local community using and engaging with it, is what excites me. If only one person who uses the space learns something new, or it inspires them to change or action something, then we have created a space that can make a difference. It also means we have somewhere to go sit, have a coffee and enjoy our lunch!
How do you go from ideas to reality, what hurdles do you come across?
At Firecracker Works we take a methodical staged approach to design and build, working through each step to explore all outcomes, until we and our clients are happy to move on to the next. Hopefully avoiding or working through any hurdles we come across. First, we explore an idea until we have the right one, then we consider different aspects and constraints of this idea until it meets all of our and our clients’ criteria. We then use our specialist skills to visualise, create and resolve before we realise the build. This approach allows us to continually delight our clients. Our approach to this project has followed the same staged approach, with Love Wimbledon being part of every stage and decision-making process, advising, critiquing and putting forward design suggestions, all to ensure we truly capture the voice of Wimbledon.
How well do you know Wimbledon, why do you choose Wimbledon to have a business in?
Our home, ‘The Hangar’ is situated in Dundonald Yard, right in the heart of Wimbledon. Having built a large set there in 2007, we jumped at the opportunity to become a permanent resident in 2013. The location of the Hangar and indeed Wimbledon was an attractive offer, due to its accessibility to the centre of London, as well as most major transport links. Being in Wimbledon is also a very comfortable location for our clients to come and visit. The fact that we are able to call a WW1 Aircraft Hangar, with so much history behind it, our home, lives into our ethos of being considerate of our environment. We cherish the opportunity to be a part of such an historic and iconic building here in the heart of Wimbledon and are happy to share its story with the local community.
What other things do you work on?
Our original line of work was for the private and corporate events industry, creating and building temporary structures. It is our reputation for the standard and quality of our work, which has led us onto a wide and varied scope or projects such as this one. It can be anything from: the recent reindeer installation with Love Wimbledon, to a sculpture or an art installation, a fashion shoot or a high end and bespoke piece of furniture, a pop-up engagement or the fit out of a permanent experiential restaurant. If it’s thrilling and it seems impossible, then it’s right up our street.
Have you done anything like this before?
This is the first opportunity we, as a business, and I, personally, have had to work on an exciting project like this. When we were approached by Love Wimbledon, we jumped at the chance to give something back. There are so many similarities between this and how we approach any project we do. We have a real dedication to sustainability and have recently become a member of Isla, a non-profit organisation focused on a sustainable future for events. With this in mind, we try as much as possible to have a minimal impact on the environment and we always consider the impact of the materials we source and use. It is really nice to have a project that is solely focused on this message.
Stay tuned for more details about this project, coming soon!