Kent Construction Expo

Last week we attended the Kent Construction Expo at Detling Hill Showground.  We are also member of the Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG). Go us! It’s an interesting environment for us to be in, mixing with Kent based architects, planners, local authorities and of course construction companies. 

As far as we know we are the only public art consultants, so it’s always an interesting pitch, describing what we do and how we do it.  They are a friendly bunch and receptive to art in terms of placemaking and community engagement.

This part of the story we rarely tell.  How do we get to work on those big developments coming forward, how do we convince developers to part with budgets to bring artists into the process of building new homes and neighbourhoods?  It takes a lot of determination, lots of advocacy, lots of presentations, meetings, networking and finally we secure a contract and can start to invite artists in. 

Being part of KCFG and attending the Kent Construction Expo gives us the opportunity to meet and chat to the companies undertaking the kind of wok we’re interested in getting involved in.  Thanks for being so welcoming. 

ContructionLogo16

Lumiere London

 

fish          Elephant

We took a trip up to London on Saturday to experience Lumiere, London, which was the biggest ever light festival in the capital. International artists were invited to transform areas with 3D projections, interactive installation and other extraordinary light works.

Most areas had been shut off from traffic, which allowed the public to walk around easily and experience the lights.  Saturday was one of the busiest days but had a great buzz about it. We particularly liked the Luminéoles by Porté par le vent, Eléphantastic!  and 195 Piccadilly by NOVAK.

Rochester Station Public Art Commission

Rochester Station

If you haven’t been along to Rochester Station yet, you won’t have seen the beautiful art work that adorns the new Station development.

FrancisKnight were appointed by Network Rail and Medway Council to work with artist Dr Katayoun Dowlatshahi on the Rochester Station Public Art Commission.

Katayoun’s inspiration is based on the history and architecture of Rochester, including the Cathedral and the Rochester Bridge Trust. The Station glass is wrapped with vibrant vinyl images that offer glimpses of Rochester’s greatest assets and create a sense of welcoming to passengers using the station.

Glass manifestations punctuate the doors and depict two seals that have been taken from a stained glass window in the Bridge Chamber.

Artwork will also be installed in the subway in the New Year depicting maps and journeys and will help to establish the link between the future Rochester Riverside developments and the new station quarter.

New Developments for Maidstone?

Louise and I went along to the Kent Construction Focus Group Breakfast meeting this week. It’s a great chance to network and listen to the guest speakers. You also get a very good full English Breakfast too!!

On the agenda this time was Paul Spooner, Interim Director of Planning & Development from Maidstone Borough Council.

He presented the up and coming projects that are earmarked for Maidstone and how the Borough Council now has all the strategies in place in order to get on with delivering against these. The listed schemes that will be coming on include Maidstone East Station, the gyratory system, a heritage quarter and the Enterprise Zone to name but a few. Local companies should benefit from these developments he mentioned and it was encouraging to hear that local architects have been involved in the masterplanning.

What is not so clear is how Maidstone Borough Council will encourage the quality of the build, the sense of place and environment that Maidstone needs in order to up its game. Our best asset the river is unfortunately underused and any opportunities for creative interventions in the town seem to be unrecognised or pulled due to lack of money. Quality public ream reflects the character and originality of a place and the people that live, work and play within it. There’s more to Maidstone then just shopping and with all the future developments Section 106 contributions could be utilised to address this.

Let’s hope that this positive air of change will benefit the town centre and surrounding areas. Unfortunately Paul Spooner’s interim contract will be over by end of February. Who picks up the gauntlet then?

Pujji Memorial Wins Award

We are extremely proud to announce that the Pujji Memorial by artist Douglas Jennings has won The Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture 2015. As part of the award's ten year anniversary two 2015 winners were announced; Douglas Jennings and Sir Anthony Gormley. The award recognises the best sculpture or monument installed within the last two years in a public space, enabling people to engage with this art form.

Page 7 of 9