08/07/2019 • Development update

Public art installation pays homage to past and future of City Road

Mount Anvil in partnership with Clarion Housing Group has installed the first permanent commission of public art at its Lexicon development. Read more below.

Mount Anvil in partnership with Clarion Housing Group has installed the first permanent commission of public art in London by Studio Swine, the award-winning art collective. Located at Lexicon, a 307-home development in Islington, the sculpture complements two further installations at Queen’s Wharf in Hammersmith, by Mount Anvil and FABRICA by A2Dominion, and Dollar Bay in Canary Wharf by Mount Anvil and One Housing Group.

Column at Lexicon, EC1

The striking artwork, entitled Column, stands at 5.3m high, and is nestled between the two Lexicon buildings off City Road. A large reflective aluminium rock perched on a rusted steel sheet protruding vertically from the ground, this piece of public art has been designed to evoke a sense of nature and the natural landscape, through the use of industrial materials that are synonymous with the trading heritage of the City Road Basin.

The warm orange of weathered steel honours the foundries and blacksmiths that once populated the area, and contrasts with the shiny silicon-like form crafted with thousands of tiny facets scattering sunlight across the courtyard.

The Lexicon commission was curated by leading cultural placemaking agency Futurecity, as part of a wider public art commissioning programme led by Mount Anvil.

Queen’s Wharf, W6

At Queen’s Wharf in Hammersmith, fine jewellery designer, Jo Hayes Ward, has created a geometric steel artwork installed on the exterior of the recently opened Riverside Studios building. Hayes Ward’s first commission in the public realm and at scale, the work is inspired by aerial photographs and maps of the local area and nearby River Thames. The composition of the artwork references a bird’s eye view of Hammersmith, using the lay of the land as a tool to create movement and energy.

Ecliptical Spheres at Dollar Bay, E14

Contemporary artist James Hopkins’ Ecliptical Spheres is located at Dollar Bay in Canary Wharf, close to West India Dock. Three stone orbs are placed in alignment with a reflective stainless-steel plane, creating an ecliptical illusion. Hopkins’ work pays homage to the area’s nautical past by referencing angled, mirrored shapes and a telescope.  Hopkins often uses perspectives and illusion, raising questions of orientation and disorientation for viewers. 

Killian Hurley, CEO, Mount Anvil, comments: “The installation of Column at Lexicon represents the final milestone in the delivery of an outstanding joint-venture scheme and demonstrates our commitment to producing meaningful spaces for residents to enjoy and in which communities can thrive. 

“With the right collaboration and thoughtful design, public art can evoke and even preserve an area’s history, something we’ve achieved through our partnership with Studio Swine. Here, the art nods to the industrial spirit that once defined the area, and which has since evolved into a hub for technological excellence today.”

Vicki Young, Head of Arts Commissioning at Futurecity, adds: “When Futurecity was appointed to deliver multiple commissions across Mount Anvil’s portfolio, we sought artists who responded to the unique characteristics of each site – through their practice, approach and use of materials. The Mount Anvil commissions have presented Studio Swine with their first permanent commission in the city and Jo Hayes Ward with her first ever public art commission. Together with James Hopkins’ piece, we have been able to develop a collection of high-quality artworks for Mount Anvil that create an artistic narrative and cultural identity for them across the city and identifies how artists can work in the public realm.”