Wednesday, 16 February 2011

CABE to merge with Design Council from 1 April 2011

CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment is due to merge with the Design Council in April. It's not clear yet what they will be called...CABED maybe?!

The new organisation will 'speak with one voice to support a broad spectrum of design, architecture and public space. It will be government’s advisor on design in business innovation and the built environment....

The organisation will have a particular focus on achieving good design at a local level. The chair of CABE, Paul Finch, said it will place architecture ‘at the heart of the economy as a driver for competitive businesses and places’.
CABE’s design review service, which provides expert advice to councils, developers and communities through reviews of major proposed projects, will continue at a national and local level. Promotion of the value of good building and spatial design to businesses and communities will continue. There will be a strong focus on securing good design in neighbourhood planning.
The Design Council name and status as a Royal Charter charity will be unaffected, and it will cease to be a non-departmental public body (NDPB) from 1 April.
The merger will save public money and provide scope for additional industry investment. The Design Council will continue to be financed through a combination of sources, including grants from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), confirmed until April 2013.
The new organisational structure for the Design Council and roles for CABE staff will be confirmed once staff consultations have been completed.
Some background to the merger: The government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in October 2010 saw massive reductions across the public sector. Although CABE had passed the Public Bodies Review, it was unable to continue as a stand-alone organisation following unexpected withdrawal of funding by the Department of Culture. The Design Council had also had a tough time in the CSR, and the two chief executives concluded that joining the two organisations could create one that was stronger as well as providing a single voice for design and the built environment. The decision to go ahead with the merger was taken by government.'

To read the press release visit this link:

Monday, 14 February 2011

London's largest public art poem to be restored

In 2001 poet and art critic Sue Hubbard was commissioned by the Arts Council and the British Film Institute to write a poem for the underpass between Victory Arch at Waterloo Station and the IMAX cinema. In Autumn 2010 Time Out magazine listed it as one of the best 'secret' things to look out for in London - two weeks later the poem was inadvertently painted over during a 'clean up'.

The poem, 'Eurydice', is now being restored, thanks to a Facebook campaign which raised £1,000 and a company called Neural Technologies who have funded the remainder of the restoration costs.

The following article is taken from a press release on Neural Technologies' website:
'Ten years ago, as part of the renovation of the South Bank undertaken by Avery Architects, 
the Arts Council and the BFI commissioned Sue Hubbard to write a poem for the underpass 
between Victory Arch and the IMAX cinema.

Written in a series of three-lined stepped stanzas the poem was set out so that it could 

be read whilst walking through the tunnel. Using the metaphor of Eurydice descending 
into the underworld it aimed to make walkers feel safe. As well as the classical myth, 
the poem's imagery makes reference to London's Thameside history and to the famous 
Waterloo clock, a meeting point in so many British films.

As an example of innovative public art it has been written about in architectural journals 
and was the subject of a commissioned essay from Sue Hubbard by The Poetry Society, 
Opening Spaces, written during her residency as The Poetry Society's only Public Art Poet. 
It formed the back drop to a National Film School production will you forget me? (Stephen 
Bennet) and Lifelines, a Channel 4 drama produced by Carnival films. The poem has also 
been requested on Radio 4's Poetry Please.

Last autumn Time Out listed it as one of the best "secret" things to look out for in 
London. Unfortunately, two weeks later the poem was inadvertently painted it over 
whilst 'cleaning' up the tunnel. A huge press outcry followed. The story was covered 
in The Guardian, The Spectator, Time Out, The Evening Standard, and Poetry News 
and was even given a ten minute slot on Canadian Radio.

Christopher Hamilton-Emery, the director of Salt publishing that publishes Sue 
Hubbard's collection Ghost Station, in which the poem appears, began a Facebook 
campaign. The response was phenomenal. More than 1200 people signed up 
demanding the restoration of the poem. One man said he proposed as a result of 
seeing it, while a mother spoke movingly of receiving comfort from reading it on the 
way to the hospital to see her terminally ill daughter.

A thousand pounds was raised on Facebook and Neural Technologies has funded 
the remainder of the restoration costs. Restoration is being undertaken by James 
Salisbury of the City and Guilds Art School.

Said Sue Hubbard, "This has been a triumph for popular opinion. This much loved 
and much read poem - London's largest public art poem - is being put back by public
 demand due to the persistence of those who believe in the role of poetry and public 

Sue Hubbard has published several collections of poetry, short stories, a novel and 
a recent book of art criticism.' 

To read the full article, visit:

I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.

©Sue Hubbard

Cornelia Parker creates a mermaid for Folkestone

Folkestone Triennial have commissioned Cornelia Parker to create Folkestone's answer to Copenhagen's famous 'Little Mermaid' statue for the 2011 triennial. The model will be a Folkestone resident called Georgina, who will be immortalised in a life-size bronze statue. 

The Triennial state:The selection ends the artist’s public search for a model from the town to become immortalised as “The Folkestone Mermaid”. When the competition process was launched in June, former Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker said, “This is not a beauty contest. I am not looking for a look-alike of the idealised Copenhagen Mermaid, but for a real person, a free spirit, so any shape or size welcome!”
Local women over the age of 18 were invited to enter by sending in a photograph of themselves in swimwear before a final shortlist of candidates was drawn up from which Georgina was chosen. The bronze statue will sit on rocks looking out to sea just outside the harbour wall.
Georgina Baker was born in Folkestone in 1972. A keen scuba diver, Georgina began swimming as a baby and to this day she swims two miles a week. Georgina enjoys the arts, is a qualified interior designer and aerobics instructor, and works part time helping disabled people through physiotherapy.
Georgina, who lives in Sandgate, Folkestone with her husband and two children, said, “I am really pleased to have been selected as Cornelia’s model and my children are excited that their mum has been chosen to be the 'Folkestone Mermaid'.”

Cornelia Parker was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, is a Royal Academician and was awarded an OBE in 2010. Her 2010 solo exhibition ‘Doubtful Sound’ was recently on show at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Her work was included in the 16th Sydney Biennale in 2008 and in the 8th Sharjah Biennial, 2007. She had major solo exhibitions at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery and the Museo De Arte de Lima, Peru in 2007. Other notable solo exhibitions include Wurttembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin; ICA, Philadelphia; Aspen Museum of Art, Colorado; Chicago Arts Club and the ICA, Boston. Her work is represented in many international collections including The Arts Council of England, Tate Gallery, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 
UBS has made a generous donation to help realise this artwork.

To find out more, visit: 

Olympics artists and projects announced

Neville Gabie has been appointed as the Olympic Delivery Authority’s artist in residence. Neville will start by spending time researching the site and those working on it, shadowing a variety of jobs from the workforce before developing a series of participatory events for site workers and the local community.

Other artists working with the ODA on current or future projects on the Olympic Park include:
1. The Inside Out Floating Cinema
Hackney-based architects Studio Weave will work with artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie, known collectively as Somewhere, on a commission to create a floating structure which will accommodate film screenings, large outdoor film events and provide a base for the artists to meet with local people. The Inside Out Floating Cinema is a continuation of UP Projects’ Portavilion programme of temporary pavilions for London’s public spaces. It will form part of the Create 2011 summer festival, and the work will be installed before the Games.
2. Light commission for the Handball Plaza
Internationally renowned artist Monica Bonvicini has been appointed by the ODA, supported by Modus Operandi, to develop a landmark light commission in front of the Handball Arena.  Details of her proposal will be released in Spring 2011, and the work will be installed before the 2012 Games.
3. The View Tube’s arts and culture programme
The View Tube, a new social enterprise and community venue with panoramic views of the Olympic Park, is developing an Arts Council England funded cultural programme curated by Alice Sharp. The line up will include well known artists Gavin Turk, Faisal Abdu’Allah, Lisa Cheung and Brian Griffiths.
4. Poetry in the Park: Winning Words
The first poem for the Olympic Park has been written by local and renowned poet Lemn Sissay. Inspired by the history of the site, Sissay has written “Spark Catchers”, a poignant poem on the history of the Bryant and May match factory which still exists on the edge of the Park in Bow.  “Spark Catchers” will be etched into a wooden structure in the north of the Park which will house one of the main electricity transformers.
5. Utilities buildings
The ODA, supported by the Contemporary Art Society, has appointed renowned British artists Clare Woods and DJ Simpson to create two large-scale works to be integrated into the facades of two utilities buildings in the south of the Park.  Both artists have taken the landscape of the Park as the inspiration for their works, and are using materials which resonate with the area’s previous industrial heritage. Both works are due to be installed in the spring of 2011.
6. The Clouds Bridge
Artists and designers Nazareno Crea and Oscar Bauer from the Royal College of Art have incorporated an artwork mural on a new bridge built by the ODA on the outskirts of the Olympic Park. They wanted the designs of abstract yet figurative images of the clouds in the sky to help the bridge become an iconic social point in the everyday life of Stratford.
7. Inter Alia
Turner Prize winning artist Grenville Davey helped the Royal College of Art facilitate workshops with local people to develop ideas for an installation that would be incorporated into the retaining walls of the Central Park bridge in the Olympic Park. The theme of ‘leaving your mark’ was developed by Davey into differently sized ‘finger prints’, marking space and disrupting the surface of the wall.  The work will be installed in the spring of 2011.
8. lfo spectrum
The ODA, supported by Modus Operandi, commissioned internationally renowned artist Carsten Nicolai to create an artwork for the fence of an infrastructure building in the Olympic Park. His piece is an alternative representation of the Olympic emblem with the five rings transformed into an image of a low-frequency oscillation sound wave. Using the colour spectrum of a sunset, the artwork was then digitally printed directly onto the fence.
9. One Whirl
Hackney-based artist Martin Richman won the competition to incorporate an art commission into one of the new bridges and underpasses being built on the Olympic Park. Richman's concept, which is inspired by the energy of the Games, will be seen on one of the bridges near the Velodrome and on the walls and ceiling of an underpass that will allow pedestrians to walk under the A12 road.
10. Memory Marathon
Memory Marathon was a large-scale participatory event in which artist Simon Pope walked a specially planned 26-mile route through the five Host Boroughs for London 2012. He was companied by 104 residents who recalled their stand-out memories from Olympic and Paralympic history. An 80-minute film of the day was shown to acclaim earlier this year. In November 2010, Simon is re-visiting the route and some of the walkers, to reflect how the local landscape has continued to change.  A special screening of ‘Memory Marathon’, including new footage, is planned for early 2011.
11. Fast, faster, fastest
Jason Bruges Studio’s concepts will be seen on one of the Stadium bridges as well as two underpasses. The bridge piece celebrates the achievements of Olympic and Paralympic champions with an interactive artwork that challenges people to race against the speed of their sporting heroes. The underpasses lighting schemes use complementary lighting artworks to reflect the movement of swimming and rowing.
12. ‘Fantasticology Wildfower Meadows’ and ‘Greenway Markers’ 
A team of The Klassnik Corporation, Riitta Ikonen and We Made That, a group of young artists and designers, were commissioned to develop a family of landscape works in the Olympic Park and on The Greenway. The “Fantastic-Archaeology” project is a series of planting designs for wild-flower meadows in the south-east corner of the Olympic Stadium island, intended to reflect the previous industrial heritage of the site. The same team have also designed distinctive entrances to The Greenway at Wick Lane and Canning Road that relate to the history and municipal function of The Greenway as an important sewer route.

Station Stories project, Manchester Piccadilly Train Station

Writer David Gaffney is working on a live literature project this May at Piccadilly train station in Manchester.

This is story telling with a difference.
This is performance with a difference.
This is 
Station stories 
May 2011
Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station
A Joint Manchester Literature Festival/Bury Text Festival production
Look out for more news as the project unfolds. To join our mailing list  and be first with the news,  email here

More details:  

Monday, 7 February 2011

Far right petition scuppers Thomas Demand public art project in Zurich

The Art Newspaper published an article by Clemens Bomsdorf towards the end of last year which reported that the Nagelhaus [Nail House], a €4.3m public artwork planned for Zurich by German artist Thomas Demand in collaboration with architects Caruso St John was rejected after the far right Swiss People's Party (SVP) launched a petition against it, claiming it was a waste of taxpayer's money. 

A referendum was called and 51% of voters rejecting the proposal. Turnout was 35%. The Nagelhaus was a Chinese-style pavilion due to be turned into a Chinese restaurant in Escher Wyss Platz in Zurich, Switzerland. The design won a 2008 competition to re-design the square, in a run down part of the city, and is based on the 'nail house' (or 'stubborn nail') in Chongqing, China, which became famous after its owner refused to move out when the surrounding buildings were demolished to build a shopping mall.  The house was finally demolished in 2007 after the owner had held out for 3 years. Demand's proposal had already been shown at Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010 and was popular with visitors. 


The SVP said in a statement, “The people of Zurich are fed up with the absurd waste of money by the city council”. The SVP's campaign included a poster depicting a golden toilet, stating “5.9m für e Schiissi! Nagelhaus Nein” [SFr5.9m for a toilet bowl! No to Nail House]. The motif referred to the fact that a public toilet was part of the proposal. The SVP suggested a police station would be a better alternative for an area with a high crime rate. 

The artwork was only part of a wider €300m restructure of the whole area. The artist claimed the original cost was half the current estimate, but was pushed up owing to regulations. The restaurant was designed so that the road passing over the square was used as a roof.

Demand told the Art Newspaper, “Nowadays it is more and more difficult for artists to realise projects in public spaces....The aim is to do something for everybody, but this is hard to communicate through public debate.”

The Caruso St John website states:
"The project proposed to locate two modest buildings under the road viaduct. They appear as archaeological fragments of a street that stood there previously, or as structures carefully tailored to fit the precise topography of the heavy concrete structure of the Hardbrücke. The image for these buildings refers to the ‘Stubborn Nail’, a story from Chongqing of private owners who held out against all odds in their small house while developers demolished the city around them."