While the UK might not be enjoying the summer it hoped for, in terms of the weather there are plenty of places where the public can enjoy exceptional creative work that mixes art, design and architecture.
By Helen Parton
From the heart of the Lake District to a busy London transport interchange, you can find entrancing public art all across the UK this summer. In the north east of the UK’s capital, the reopening of Waltham Forest Town Hall marks a new chapter in the area’s public realm. Original features have been restored and improvements made to the building to make it more modern and accessible, led by architect Adam Cossey of Hawkins/Brown.
Fountain designer Churchman Thornhill Finch has added fun to the newly created Fellowship Square in Walthamstow, north east London.
© London Borough of Waltham Forest and Churchman Thornhill Finch
A newly created public space, Fellowship Square, takes its name from William Morris, founding father of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 19th century who said ‘Fellowship is life, and the lack of fellowship is death’. The square is centred around a new landmark fountain, a more sustainable and cost effective upgrade to the previous water feature. The fountains will provide pleasure for all ages and starting this month, there will be a series of events based around music, comedy, poetry, art, crafts, food and fashion throughout the summer.
Moving into the centre of London, Proud Little Pyramid is the latest creation from Adam Nathaniel Furman, his first in a six-month residency in the King’s Cross area. A long-time exponent of colour in a variety of settings from a hospital to his own range of homewares, this work originally began life as a Christmas tree. Reborn in summer, the pyramid is adorned with cute emojis and was first unveiled during Pride month. It is intended to be a ‘celebration of being odd, loud, mixed, in-between and fabulous’.
Proud Little Pyramid is a colourful addition to Granary Square a popular piece of public realm behind London’s King’s Cross and St Pancras railway stations.
© Gareth Gardner
Artist Camille Walala is also renowned for her use of colour and her latest installation is in Plymouth, a commission which forms part of the inaugural exhibition at The Box, the region’s new museum, art gallery and archive. Walala’s work ‘Putting Things In Perspective’ is made from marine plywood, a nod to the Plymouth’s seafaring heritage. The work is a mix of contrasting forms, vivid colours and organic patterns, with artistic influences ranging from the Cubist movement to Roy Lichtenstein’s signature Pop Art to French artists Jean Dubuffet’s interlocking shapes in his ‘Hourloupe’ series. It’s a subtle shift for Walala from strict symmetries and primary colours of her past to softer edges and more nuanced hues.
Camille Walala brings her distinctive brand of colour and pattern to Plymouth’s The Box.
© Dom Moore
From the south west coast to some 290 miles north, the Grizedale Sculpture Trail in the Lake District has a new addition, courtesy of Sheffield-based Sapien Studio. Entitled ‘Only Breath’ the public sculpture is composed of rusted Corten steel which offers spectacular views of the local scenery, stretching out as far as the Irish Sea. Measuring 3 metres in diameter and weighing one tonne, its creators say it is the physical manifestation of a poem of the same name by famous Sufi poet Rumi, reflecting how the breath animates life on Earth and recognising rhythms and cycles of nature.
Corten steel has been harnessed to the create a beautiful sculpture by Sapien Studio, inspired by the act of breathing.
© Sapien Studio
Whether in urban or rural areas, what these pieces have in common is connecting with people and lifting their moods in what has been a tumultuous time for the UK, as elsewhere in the world.