Southbank skating park has long been one of London’s cultural institutions – a space dedicated for skaters to meet, socialise and, of course, skate in the centre of the city. Originally dubbed ‘Southbank’ in 1976, the space was a ‘found spot’ that utilised the existing brutalist undercroft of the cultural arts building above, and soon attracted a skater crowd. By the 1980s, Southbank had become the epicenter of skateboarding in the UK.
However, in the 90s, many of the original features of the undercroft were destroyed in efforts to deter skating there. Never one to let barriers stop them, the skating community simply found ways to incorporate the new barriers into the practice. More restrictions and temporary closures continued into the 2010s, culminating in the announcement of plans to permanently close the undercroft.
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Enter Long Live Southbank: the campaign born in 2013 to save the world’s longest continually skated street spot. After a record breaking campaign, the space was saved by September 2014, and the collective gained a legal guarantee for its long term future.
Since then, the campaigners fundraised to restore legendary sections of the skate spot that hadn’t been used since 2004, and are now turning their attention to providing ‘more free creative space in the very heart of London, for all, forever.’ As well as this important socio-geographical work, Long Live Southbank collaborates with artists and designers to further the cause.
In the project to restore the previously-closed areas, LLSB collabed with Ryan Hawaii on a capsule collection which raised more than £1.1 million. With Hawaii previously having worked with brands such as Off-White, Nike and Converse, the collection exemplified the potential in designers working with ‘unconventional’ collaborators to promote community oriented projects.
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