I can’t help feel that the 18th Century got a lot of things right, you know apart from rampant xenophobia, social injustice and polio. You get the sense they knew how to have fun, and nowhere is this more obvious that the tradition of pleasure gardens, social spaces designed to dazzle, titillate and amuse everyone from aristocrats to grubby chimney sweep types. So kudos to the team bringing pleasure back (to paraphrase Mr Timberlake) with the London Pleasure Gardens in the east end due to open next month.
The 35,000 capacity venue will include two live music venues, a floating cocktail bar, an art hotel, sculpture gardens and a nature reserve and is being overseen by Mutate Britain and Shangri-La who are responsible for some of the most interesting areas of the Glastonbury Festival.
The ambition of the project is mindboggling but it’s clear it’s all very considered too, and if last night’s launch event is anything to go by there’s going to be a lot of cultural credibility involved, rather than it being a soul-destroying vanity exercise/moneyspinner.
Collaborating with RIBA, hosting the Bloc festival with Orbital and Snoop Dog and working with Newham council to ensure it aids the borough’s regeneration are all impressive strings to their bow, and the commitment to showcasing up-and-coming artists around the site seems genuine.
The video above gives you a taster and randomly features rugby star Martin Offiah (nicknames “Chariots”). Also at this pleasure gardens you won’t get polio (double yay!).