Silver Forest SW1
Silver Forest is a 30m long 8m tall concrete artwork made in collaboration with the artist Rut Blees-Luxemburg and cast by Graphic Relief. It sits on the side of Westminster City Hall in a new public passage called Kings Gate Walk, across from the entrance colonnade of Kings Gate, a residential project that we designed on Victoria Street, London SW1. The demolition of the previous building that abutted City Hall revealed a scar of brick work, and our task was to create a suitably ornamental base to this august institution, one that did not upstage the somewhat dour 1960s building that it adorns. The scale and rhythm of the columns forming the portico to City Hall wrap around the corner, drawing you into the new urban passage and establishing also a powerful relationship with Kings Gate. Silver Forest is a series of photographs cast into concrete, with varying degrees of texture and focus, blur and sheen, that variously coalesce into a focussed image of a path in a forest; or fragment into parts of trees, becoming pure texture. The concrete surfaces echo and re-present the textures of the Birch bark depicted in the photographs, resonating strongly with the bark of the actual Acer trees in the courtyard. Nature, second nature, artifice, and decorum combine in a powerful spatial experience of illusionistic and actual depth, adding a layer of civic presence to the otherwise modest and somewhat mute City Hall.