Celebrating our participation in London Design Festival 2018, our art curator, Rosie Glenn, takes a closer look at our inaugural Design Route, uncovering site-specific sculptural interventions by emerging artistic talent, creative visions by a new generation of designers alongside literary inspired installations by established creatives and architects.
Colour Transfer by Liz West at Paddington Central, commissioned by British Land; image courtesy Liz West; photograph © Jason Bailey Studio
Surrounded by the historic Grand Union Canal and the Westway’s monumental span, our distinctive architectural surroundings provide the framework for two design-led sculptures. Set within the underside of the iconic Westway viaduct, Liz West’s site-specific installation, Colour Transfer (2018), creates the perfect gateway to Paddington Central’s western side. Briefed to activate and enliven the space, West intuitively recognised that an injection of colour, provided here through the entire kaleidoscopic spectrum, would create a dynamic optical illusion of undulating and rhythmic shapes. Forming an immersive environment, shifting and changing throughout the day as natural light moves throughout the space, Colour Transfer makes direct reference to the surrounding environment.
Message from the Unseen World by United Visual Artists and Nick Drake
Also linked to our neighbourhood, Message from the Unseen World, pays homage to the achievements of Alan Turing, one of Paddington’s most eminent figures. Situated beneath Bishop's Bridge, this installation also creates a natural gateway, this time to the eastern side of Paddington Central. Celebrating the pioneering work and life of Turing, Message from the Unseen World by UVA combines three vital artistic components – text, light and technology, all of which have featured in pioneering art installations since the middle part of the twentieth century. Here the text element is provided through a piece of poetry by Nick Drake, the words of which are played through algorithms, ensuring that the same words and phrases are never repeated in the same order.
Royal College of Art's Future of Lobby Spaces at 2 Kingdom Street
Another prominent feature of Paddington Central’s Design Route is our unique collaboration with London’s Royal College of Art. Stemming from a partnership between British Land and the Royal College, we have worked alongside the College’s design and architecture students to showcase a series of innovative installations which reflect on the future use of various spaces. Rethinking the traditional boundaries and formats of lobby, residential and retail areas, our bespoke displays encourage the viewer to reflect on the flexibility of current architectural design, the use of pioneering materials and the impact of technology within the modern lifestyle. Created as a series of experiences, The Residential Build of the Future, The Future of Lobby Spaces and Retail of the Future are located within 2 and 4 Kingdom Street and along the waterfront. Interestingly, another creative installation at Paddington Central has a close link to the Royal College of Art and offers a further perspective on the role the College has provided in artistic innovation throughout its history. Sir Peter Blake, whose iconic designs adorn Darcie & May Green, studied at the College during the late 1950s. Part of the Pop Art generation which changed the relationship between art and popular culture, Blake’s designs for these two floating dining destinations encapsulate his trademark heart and alphabet motifs.
The Snøhetta Book Pavilion, Kingdom Street
Innovation, interaction and experience are also at the heart of two further Design Route activations: firstly, situated along Kingdom Street, the Snøhetta Book Pavilion has been created by pioneering architectural and design firm Snøhetta. Comprising a series of oversized book structures which flip to create a variety of spaces, this elegant installation also features designs by local artists. Varying from extrovert and public to reflective and intimate, these areas invite the viewer into the structure, encouraging them to lose themselves in a world of literature and books. Secondly, designed by Studio Appétit, the Paddington Central Flip Book Garden offers viewers a insight into the world of contemporary design through bold and colourful interpretations of botanical scenes. Situated along the canalside, this life-size artwork takes inspiration from playful pop-up books to create a dynamic and exciting visual landscape experience which challenges the use of public space in the metropolitan setting. Drop by to explore the Daytime Garden’s haven-style oasis on view form 8am-3pm daily, and also the Evening Garden’s sophisticated urban-jungle interpretation which unfolds from 3-8pm.
If you enjoyed this, be sure to sign up for one of Rosie’s tours of our Design Route. It's free to take part, but please register here in advance:
- Saturday, 15 September: 12–1pm – book your place here
- Friday, 21 September: 12.30–1.30pm – book your place here
- Friday, 21 September: 4.30–5.30pm – book your place here