The Safe Deposite -XX- The Paper Aviary

With ornamentation at its core, the “Safe Deposite” illustrates our necessity for decoration, detail and design.


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Designed by Studio Weave, alongside an imagined tête-à-tête with the voice of Leslie Green, the freestanding structure intends to host public performances, events and exhibitions within St James’s Market. Along with his father, Green designed the Pall Mall Safe Deposite that previously sat on the site in 1898.

The existence of mentorship and alliance runs consistently throughout the pavilion’s design, intent and future. With the inspiration and opinion of Green bouncing around the walls of the Studio Weave office, the team have created a platform for interaction, collaboration and support for designers; as well as a manifesto for cultivation, creativity and curiosity for visitors.


In collaboration with sculptors Sands and Randall, a grid of bespoke chimneys were manifested to adorn the ceiling of the pavilion. The interior of the chimneys were made by gluing 3D printed wheat ornamentation onto CNC machine-cut birch plywood panels. Meanwhile, the rims were created using plaster casts, which were glued onto plywood boards.


Drenched in gold leaf, the surfaces hold similarities with gleaming churches and annotations of richness, craftsmanship and prosperity.


Ornate // almost celestial.


Material Culture // exchange and identity.

Historically on the site, wheat would be exchanged as currency within the old market. Today, Studio Weave have opulently depicted wheat on the gilded panels to illustrate its importance and anthropological representation of exchange and material culture of the streets.

Below the ceiling of a gilded grid, walnut cabinets are combined with sycamore, brass and patinated copper to house exhibitions. Beautifully composed, the materiality of the pavilion expresses craftsmanship, artistry and dexterity. It is here that ornamentation hides in plain side: catching your eye as you walk along Regent Street.

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“The Paper Aviary”

Described as a jewellery box by the architects, the Safe Deposite cabinets frame ornaments of a designers dream. The latest installation, organised by The Crown Estate, is a display of hand-crafted exotic birds from all over the world. Inspired by “Birdcage Walk” (a historic exhibition of exotic birds in St James’ Park) and in collaboration with design firms dn&co, Guardabosques and 2MZ, “The Paper Aviary” showcases a range of delicate origami birds of various colours and sizes.

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Each bird is handmade to represent local fashion houses and artisans of the area. Brands like John Smedley, Turnbull & Asser and Aquascutum are depicted. Once again, like the building, the exhibition emphasises the material culture and exchange of St James’ Market streets.

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By replicating a Victorian safety deposit cabinet, Studio Weave creates an appreciation for craftsmanship within us. We look through the glass and find the precious jewels of craft, and delicate design.

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The pavilion commands a sense of safety and security // yet is still



and enriching.

Architects and Designers: Studio Weave

Based in Hackney,  Studio Weave are producing artistic work concerning the public realm and community engagement. They have created multiple installations and architectural structures that provide a deep sense of collaboration and ingenuity. Their current projects range from a playful xylophone bench for Great Ormund Street Hospital to woodland classrooms for Belvue School.

Studio Weave are always imaginative, explorational and dexterous in design.

“The Safe Deposite” collaborators:

Building Control Consultants: Butler & Young
Curator: Future City
Estate Managers: BNP Paribas
Lighting Consultants: Studio 29
MEP Engineering: MEC Serve
Planning Consultant: CBRE
Principle Contractor: Millimetre
Project Management: Tuffin Ferraby Taylor
Sculptors: Sands and Randall
Structural Engineering: Price & Myers

“The Paper Aviary” collaborators:

Design and Organisation: dn&co, Guardabosques, 2MZ, The Crown Estate
Paper: G. F Smith
Sound: Xeno Canto

Photo credits:

Polly Braden, Tian Khee Siong, Sands and Randall


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