Launching the charity’s design strategy for the area on Tuesday (16 September), design director Ben Bolgar said feng shui would have a major role in transforming Newport Place, a square “blighted” by unattractive buildings, a car park entrance and a rubbish depot at the end of Gerrard Street, into the new “hub” of Chinatown.
“Newport Place is a hotchpotch at the moment, but the aspiration is for this to become a world-class square,” he said. “We are looking to… bring back, through proper analysis of feng shui, water, nature and air to that part of London. We will use the ancient traditions of feng shui to really study this place. It could be spectacular, a healing environment in the centre of the city.”
The Foundation’s report, which followed a two-day ideas workshop in May, called for improved access to Chinatown from Soho and Leicester Square and the reopening of a London Underground exit at Little Newport Street.
Better lighting and more cohesive street facades are proposed for Gerrard and Lisle Streets as well as more authentic craftsmanship, such as new gates on Wardour Street, and timber dragons at each of the nine entrances.
Prince’s Foundation chief executive Hank Dittmar said: “What we’ve tried to understand what is special about this place and try to create a design strategy that will allow it to better compete in the 21st century.”