The Crown Estate
Architects: Trehearne Architects
Local Authority: Westminster London,
Artist: Michael Bleyenberg
Plan developed Public Art Strategy for the street leading to the commissioning of architectural light sculptures integrated into the remodelled environment of New Burlington Place to promote pedestrian footfall and sense of identity.
Plan worked closely with the project architects to ensure the strategy properly addressed contextual issues. The critical architectural reference was the new building which houses the headquarters of the Crown Estate. The subtle movements of colour and light within the commissioned artwork, entitled ‘New Burlington Flare,’ correspond well with the sleek modernist feel of the building. At night, when the work possesses greater drama, the key reference point is the pulsating life of Regent Street, taking place just a few yards away.
New Burlington Place is one of the side streets in the West End and there is no resident community. Consideration was given, however, to the needs of people who use the street as a cut-through to Saville Row. Now it has been installed, the Flare is used as a landmark and meeting place, thus aiding legibility within the centre of the city.
The commissioned work constitutes a light installation made up of two elements. The largest element, the Light Tower, stands to the left hand side of Crown Estate’s headquarters building. At the core of the installation are Holographic Optical Elements (HOE). These are light foils designed by the artist embedded between glass and mirrors which, as a result of light refraction comparable to a prism, create a colour play specifically designed for the art work.
Either during the day, at dusk or at night, when lit up by a set of internal lighting units, the installation casts a magnificent display of colour and light, which can be experienced in manifold ways depending on the position of the spectator. The secondary installation is in the soffit of the walkway connecting New Burlington Place with Regent’s street. Together the works form a powerful aspect of the new identity of the street.
‘Plan Projects have worked on several public realm art projects for us. Their approach has been to research the project thoroughly, to fully consider the background taking into account our aspirations and produce a brief which balances artistic aspirations and practicality. They have a good understanding of the role of that cultural activity can play in creating value in the public realm.’