Celebrating the art of living

Here are some of the public artworks commissioned by property developers to inspire Londoners at home

THE TOWER AT SAFFRON SQUARE, CROYDON
This 43-storey skyscraper in Croydon is set to grace London’s skyline in 2016. Residents can expect “five-star hotel living” set against arty interior design. The architecture of the building is inspired by the iconic great halls and monuments of the 50s and 60s art scene, referencing the design of art galleries, auditoriums and concert halls of the period. The residents can also socialise in a members’ club called The Arthouse which was designed by interiors firm Box 66. The communal area is an homage to grand, imposing theatricality with a dark painted ceiling, custom-designed seating areas and gallery spaces throughout to showcase work from local artists. The Tower, measuring 142 metres high, makes the most out of its stature with a sky lounge and roof terraces.

ROSEBERY AVENUE, CLERKENWELL
This City development is a warehouse conversion so there’s plenty of room to showcase artwork. However, New York-based artist Marco Brambilla chose to install his video-project Materialization/De-Materialization in the lifts. The film slowly evolves from a random pattern of digital ripples against a black background. They gradually reveal themselves to be made up of formations of human silhouettes sampled from every instance someone is transported in the original Star Trek series. It gives the effect of characters travelling from ring to ring. “The idea was to enhance the often boring experience of travelling in lifts to a level, where you feel ‘re-energised’ from the ground floor to the apartments above. We feel it will really appeal to our target market of creative types who live around Exmouth Market,” says Rob Soning, chief operating officer of developer Londonnewcastle.

GREAT WEST QUARTER, BRENTFORD
Barratt London held a lengthy competition to find a piece of art for the Great West Quarter development in south west London. They picked artist Alison Turnbull who created this striking 10-storey high artwork entitled Colour Chart Remix TW8 0GL. Using complex colour-coding, Turnbull incorporates over 800 separate colours from the StoRender colour chart – a design tool often used by architects – on a strip, and embedded it on to the facade of Laval House, which fronts a public piazza. Turnbull says, “From the outset, it seemed important that the embedded work be simultaneously bold enough to be apprehended at a glance by motorists and subtle enough to provide ambient imagery for residents.”

GAINSBOROUGH STUDIOS, HOXTON
The semi-submerged head of legendary film-maker Alfred Hitchcock sits in a public square on the site of his former studio in Hoxton. He started his illustrious career in film-making at Gainsborough Studios where he shot The Lady Vanishes and The Lodger, but the head faces Hollywood where Hitchcock made his name with films such as The Birds and Psycho. Sculptor Anthony Donaldson was commissioned to create the piece especially for the residential development and it was unveiled to much media fanfare in 2003. Donaldson’s work has been exhibited in the Tate and he is, primarily, a painter of popular imagery from advertisments and magazines. Four buildings of apartments surround the clay head sitting alongside Regent’s Canal with a spectacular three-storey penthouse at the top that boasts spectacular panoramic views over London. “The sculpture in the courtyard is the only nod to its past,” says Adam Smith, from Savills’ Islington office. “It’s also pretty impressive.”

RENAISSANCE, LEWISHAM
This colourful piece of modern art completely covers the frontage of the Glass Mill Leisure Centre, a key part of Barratt London and Lewisham Borough Council’s Renaissance development, which aims to revive the south London borough’s town centre. Designers LA Architects collaborated with London-based artist Phil Coy to create the artwork following a competition process. Entitled Razzle Dazzle, Coy’s piece is embedded into the building’s structure and it’s one of London’s largest kinetic artworks. It comprises a grid of pixellated glass panels set out in a pattern of ten opposing colours. This screen is backlit with LED lights, microphones and custom-made software to react and dance to the soundscape of surrounding Lewisham. Coy says the piece is based on a tactic called Dazzle Camoflage used in World War Two. Designed by artists, the effect was to protect ships from attack by confusing the enemy with a series of optical illusions. Coy says, “The effect is heightened at night when the facade is backlit with a generative lighting scheme.”

PAYNES & BORTHWICK, GREENWICH
The riverside views from the mixed-use development make this a picturesque place to put an art gallery. The spacious contemporary spaces and the floor-to-ceiling windows mean this art gallery will be a light and airy place to appreciate modern artworks. United House Development is the firm behind the £100m Paynes & Borthwick regeneration project in west Greenwich, transforming a forgotten stretch of land along the Thames into public spaces and new homes. The art gallery will sit next to waterfront bars, landscaped gardens and 213 one to three-bedroom private apartments, 44 affordable homes, and 10 commerical units with outstanding views across the river. The Paynes Wharf building sits on the site of a Grade-II listed former marine boiler factory, which provided engines for warships.