Festival House / Tower of Love

When LDA Design won a competition to redevelop the Golden Mile, they asked us to design a pavilion for the Tower Festival Headland, close to North Pier and below the grade-1 listed Blackpool Tower. The local council were looking for a new landmark that would celebrate Blackpool’s confidence as a traditional seaside resort with a 21st-Century outlook, and saw an opportunity to create a new cultural landmark that the proud people of Blackpool could call their own.

Our main focus was to capitalise on the building’s surrounding views. We designed a ‘telescopic’ wedding tower where a vertical view of Blackpool Tower frames where couples exchange vows, and created horizontal views of the Irish Sea in the Registry, reception, roof terrace and restaurant. Standing on a stepped concrete plinth containing recycled and phosphorescent glass, the engineered timber building is a deliberate eye-catcher and lookout point, clad in golden stainless steel shingles. The expressive form and detailing, executed with great skill and care by the local contractor, is a celebration of Blackpool’s renowned exuberance, combining the bracing coastal weather with super-sustainable construction and a sensual, wooden interior.

The Tower of Love was designed as a ‘useful sculpture’, and we are proud both of its prominence and of the challenging and innovative way in which we have used timber in its build. More than anything, the Tower of Love is for us a thing of joy: an expression of love, pride and happiness on the steps between the Blackpool Illuminations and the Irish Sea.

Photography © Alex de Rijke, Chris Astbury