As part of The Environment Agency’s (EA) £22 million programme to transform urban and rural public realm, Kebony, the sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, was the material chosen for bespoke seating alongside the River Arun’s East Bank in Littlehampton. Overall, the project protects 750 homes and 300 businesses in Littlehampton, Sussex, from being affected by flooding for the next 100 years.
This scheme will protect thousands of homes and businesses from flood risk, whilst simultaneously creating a destination for both the local community and visitors to enjoy. LDA Design, the landscape architect for the scheme, looked to combine simplicity with high quality design, sensitively integrating the physical requirements of the flood defence to the project. The design team took inspiration from the surrounding area, drawing on the connectivity between the town centre and the River Arun, in collaboration with the local community. The combination of low ramps, pedestrian steps and Kebony timber seating terraces creates an attractive and unified public realm, for local residents and visitors to Littlehampton.
The EA has a strict timber procurement policy that requires all timber and wood-derived products used to be from sustainable sources. Consequently, LDA Design welcomed the opportunity to use Kebony for the scheme. Kebony, a highly durable and structurally stable product, was selected for its resilience and ability to withstand the challenging marine environment. Furthermore, it protects tropical forests by diverting demand for hardwoods; sustainable sourced softs are impregnated with a bio-based liquid and then heated under pressure, so that the wood permanently adopts the characteristics of tropical hardwood. This project used Kebony clear, produced from sustainably managed pine species.
Adrian Pye, International Director at Kebony, said: “The new waterfront in Littlehampton is transformed; the project demonstrates the importance of taking an innovative approach to the design of public spaces, the aesthetic of an installation is as important as its practical capabilities and LDA Design have demonstrated an ability to create a beautiful public feature, which also plays an important role for the future viability of the town.”