The above image is an aerial shot of Bedford/Carlton Place, Southampton, taken in July 2021. The Bedford/Carlton Place Activation Project is a scheme I worked on recently in collaboration with Studio B.A.D, designing the artwork for the street mural. This was applied in semi-permanent coloured paint to encourage pedestrian interaction with this road surface, temporarily closed to vehicles in relation to COVID-19 social distancing measures. The street mural was further furnished with lighting, planters, tables, chairs and also other items placed by local traders which further developed the project over time.
I originally trained as a sculptor before deciding to study architecture as I hoped to work on creative projects within more of a team environment, rather than the typically more solitary artist studio environment. I also aimed to work on projects which would be of benefit to a wider community and become less of a commodity than fine art works can sometimes be. For me, moving into public art over the last few years has integrated various skills from both disciplines including; researching local context, imaginative design, selecting materials, project management, working with others and assessing community feedback.
Over the last few months I have also been collaborating on other projects with Studio B.A.D including the Summer Lounge activation scheme due to be installed in Guildhall Square, Southampton, later this month. Studio B.A.D work with a range of collaborators and this is my first instance of working with an architectural practice where the artwork has been thought of as an intrinsic part of the overall scheme. Too often different creative disciplines sit at arm’s length in built environment projects. In the Bedford Place scheme, the artwork was fundamental to the placement of the other designed elements. The success of the project has been the day-to-day use of the artwork to informally test permanent solutions for this area of public space. This type of wide-ranging collaboration is a growing trend and an opportunity to bring in creatives from outside of the traditional masterplanning backgrounds to create more unique experiences.