Bownanza is an exciting new scheme to promote street food culture in Bromley-by-Bow and across London.
It was created by Architects Dominic McKenzie & Peter Morris with Dan Hopewell and Rick Levene from the Bromley-by-Bow Centre. To find out more or get in touch please email: or

Wednesday 1 January 2014

BOWNANZA - Introduction

Hello! Welcome to Bownanza.

Here is a brief description of our proposals for a street food revolution in Bromley by Bow & across London. This has been done as part of the SCIBE (Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment) research which is being undertaken by the University of Westminster. 

Here's more info about SCIBE and details of the original competition that our proposal forms part of:

and here's the full briefing document


Our project is entitled ‘Bow-nanza’. This  is the dictionary definition of the word bonanza:

1) A situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits.
2) A large amount of something desirable: “the festive feature film bonanza”.

Our project aims to bring a sudden increase in good fortune and a large amount of something desirable to Bromley by Bow.  But given the context of the most deprived borough in London the ‘something’ cannot be expensive – these are scarce times.  Instead our project intends to unlock potential ‘wealth’ that already exists within Bromley by Bow and bring it to the fore at very low cost.

Our starting question was how can we increase the feeling of wellbeing in Bromley by Bow?

Our answer is to concentrate on 2 key aspects of life there – Food and Community.

The SCIBE competition briefing document (see link above) highlighted that despite being a relatively deprived borough, 91% of residents said they eat outside the home on a regular basis, with 31% eating out 2- 6 times a week. Most often they ate fast food.

In many cases Bromley by Bow’s homes are densely populated, with people sharing rooms and the living room given over to become a bedroom. The kitchen is often too small to accommodate the residents.

The brief also highlighted that 60% of residents were from Bangladesh. 

Given these conditions, we asked if there was a way to improve what people eat and at the same create a vibrant street life and sense of community similar to that found in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

Our project therefore concentrates on the promotion of street food as an alternative to the more usual fast food offerings. Our aim is to connect the community through communal eating and to use street food as a potential source of employment and entrepreneurship within Bromley by Bow. 

Click here to download our original BOWNANZA Presentation (23/7/12) as a pdf  

Friday 14 June 2013

Bow-nanza ventures out for the first time!

The Bow-nanza bike appeared in public for the first time on Sunday. And we're pleased to report  it went down like a house on fire!!

Sadly the June day was not quite as blazing as we had hoped, but still the crowds were out in Victoria Park where we tested it. 

Peter's mother in law had provided a delicious chickpea and chicken curry which was available from the front of the bike, meanwhile I (Dominic) had got extremely busy in the kitchen with the sumptuous cake selection - Lemon drizzle cake, Brownies & Flapjacks. 

Alister and Hannah from Flight Design (the fantastic metal workers who adapted the bike) were there to lend moral support to Peter as he cycled it over from Hackney Wick and also to finish the cooking of the Brownies off in their handy local oven!

We met some great people and everyone was  very enthusiastic about out our street food bike idea. Can't wait to get out there again!

Friday 24 May 2013

Grand Opening of the Sightlines Exhibition

A great night last night at the opening of the Sightlines exhibition which was held in the Mayor's Parlour near Bow Church. 

Crystal Bennes and team had done an amazing job of transforming the space with bright colour tapes which led up to the exhibition 


The Bow-nanza bike was located outside on the terrace. It was great to see it displaying food finally!! The food was provided by local Bromley by Bow community food group - FoodCycle. Here they are setting it up before the opening. Curry in the pots in the front: 

& great to see the back laden with cakes!!

We're very happy to say the Bow-nanza bike was at the centre of the celebrations after the more formal exhibitions had opened inside. Here it is in full effect!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Some of the Bow-nanza exhibits from the Sightlines exhibition

Here's some of what we exhibited at the Sightlines exhibition yesterday. Apart from the bike we showed 3 A1 panels. The first explained the development of the Bow-nanza concept (described in detail in this blog). The second showed the development of the bike prototype. Here it is:

The third panel shows how the Bow-nanza bike would be used in a cartoon format:

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Painting the Prototype Bow-nanza Bike

An intense few days in the run up to the Sightlines exhibition which opens on Thursday 23rd of May!!

First Monday and Tuesday - painting the finished bike outside Flight Design's workshop in Hackney Wick. 

Here's the raw bike prior to decoration beginning on Monday morning:

and here it is by mid Monday morning!

Some relentless precision spray-canning & brush painting work from the amazing Alex! A genius! Perhaps stemming from a well spent youth as a graffiti artist?

Here he is in action and waiting for the final triangle of paint to dry near the end of the decorating process. 

Alex stopped painting for a bit more road-testing of the bike on Tuesday lunchtime. This time the road-test pilot was Jim Blakemore from Bikeworks (who provided the original Babboe cargo bike and have given brilliant advice all the way through):

And here's the finished bike at the end of Tuesday.

Monday 20 May 2013

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Bownanza Bike Mach 2!

It's back! The revamped and revitalised Bow-nanza Bike. 

Stripped down to a mere skeleton for now (to make sure we're happy with the shape), but much slimmer and trimmer. Much less top heavy. 

Here's Peter road-testing it outside Flight Design's workshop in Hackney Wick. 

After an understandably cautious start... it flies!!