This is a new design for one of the most heavily used areas in central London, which had become run-down and crime-ridden. Burns + Nice’s design was inspired by the historic qualities of the late 19th century form of the central gardens. It introduced new railings and gates, framing the gardens with a sinuous white granite ribbon of seating. Surrounding this is dark granite paving which creates a legible link to the surrounding square.

Sue Illman, president of the Landscape Iphp0IT6Sz9143nstitute, said,’ Burns + Nice has demonstrated how thoughtful modern design, which is practical and robust in its concept but elegant in its detailing, can not only provide a new type of urban square, but can also demonstrate how improvements to the quality of the environment, can act as a catalyst for change and regeneration.’

Marie Burns, of Burns + Nice, said, ‘We have won a lot of awards for this project, but for us this is the pinnacle, to be recognised by our fellow professionals. It is good that we have won the prize as an independent professional practice – it is good for other similar practices.’

On the same day as the Landscape Institute awards were announced, Leicester Square won the public space category in the International Downtown Association Awards in New York.

In the LI Awards, it won the Design for a Medium-Scale Public Development Award. Photo: Robert Taylor.