Located at Brent Cross Town, one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe, a new primary electrical substation has been wrapped with a 21-metre-high permanent public artwork. The project has been designed by IF_DO in collaboration with the celebrated London-based artist Lakwena.
The exuberant colour scheme and vast scale of the artwork, which at its highest point is taller than the Angel of the North, ensures that it will become a new local landmark. The artwork, titled “Here we come, here we rise”, sits next to London’s A406 North Circular at the junction with the M1 motorway, and adjacent to both the Thameslink railway line that connects central London with the home counties north of the city, and the new Brent Cross West station. It is estimated that some six million people each year will see it from the road and rail alone.
The design comprises of four undulating bands and triangular-shaped "lenticular" panels that create a kaleidoscopic visual effect to emphasise the idea of movement as viewers move around the structure. It draws on influences as varied as Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies and historic forms of roadside structures, such as billboards, funfairs and industrial sites that make use of a skeletal frame supporting a brightly coloured skin.
Lakwena, who is known for her joyful technicolour murals and graphical text poetry, has applied her signature colour, pattern and language to the design. The inspirational statement “Here we come, Here we rise and shine” reflects the ambition to inspire and bring people together in the local community.
Brent Cross Town, which is being delivered in partnership by Related Argent and Barnet Council, is being designed to be a net zero carbon development by 2030, and investment in efficient new infrastructure is a key part of this. The project puts circular economy principles into action with 50% of the structural steel being salvaged from unused oil pipelines, reducing embodied carbon emissions by over 40%.
“This major addition to our public realm in the heart of Brent Cross is another example of how we’re working together to build a better London for everyone.” — Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Brent Cross Town, London
John Sturrock and Jason Hawkes (aerial)