Feb 16, 2019 Last Updated 2:53 PM, Feb 5, 2019

Marshalls supplies a variety of seats and benches for Bristol development

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Now known as Bristol’s creative quarter, the Paintworks story began as the development of Phoenix Wharf, a brownfield site which housed an original Victorian factory complex. Today, it is a mix of residential and commercial properties, home to creative businesses and studios with galleries, event venues and an emerging cafe culture.


The Crest Nicholson development is an attractive mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments alongside three- and four-bedroom houses plus a number of live and work units with a popular urban warehouse feel, sited alongside the established Paintworks community.

This is the largest podium structure in Europe, covering one and a half acres, with 221 units and 14 commercial spaces. The design allows for 248 parking spaces situated at a lower level, with the residential development built on a structural frame above, effectively creating a concrete deck where the houses sit.


The concept of the scheme was founded on a natural theme, aiming to create a subtle Mediterranean look and feel using appropriate planting, landscaping and paving.

Choosing natural stone underfoot and incorporating benches like the Marshalls Natural Elements range fitted well into the design, complementing the environment.

The Natural Elements seats and benches were selected to provide an attractive centrepiece for the central plaza area.

With the development aiming for a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating level benchmark, use of the Natural Elements range proved a real benefit; all these products use FSC-certified timber to match the BREEAM standards.

Initially, there was a discussion around designing bespoke benches for this space, but with the Marshalls Natural Elements range meeting all the style and performance criteria for the project, with modular elements to allow for the necessary flexibility and customisation, this was the selected route.

Discussions with Marshalls also allowed for a further degree of customisation in terms of alteration to the lengths of the seats and benches, which created an elegant elongated look to complement the surrounding mixed-use space. Standard length Natural Elements seats were extended from 1790mm to as much as 4500mm, and benches from 1790 to 1950mm to meet the desired specification.

The paving selected for the area is Marshalls La Linia in a range of plan sizes and harmonising shades. Created through Marshalls’ partnership with Stein + Design, La Linia is a beautifully textured paving range creating striking visual effects using both colour and shape. Ideal for pedestrian areas, La Linia is also capable of handling occasional overrun by vehicular traffic for access and convenience.


Although work is still in progress in other areas of the Paintworks site, the entire project has been hailed a great success and is likely to be nominated for a number of different architectural, design and community awards. This exciting development is considered to be one of the most successful schemes of its type in the country, and Bristol City Council has rated the scheme as an ‘Exemplary Site’.


“Paintworks is a unique development in maintaining a quality of design, use of natural materials and the creation of inviting public spaces which together create a delightful new community in the heart of Bristol. Marshalls Natural Elements benches have certainly complemented the design vision on the project and add to the goal to create thoughtfully designed spaces,” commented a spokesperson from Crest Nicholson.

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