Earlier this year the London Society asked for ideas for making London's parks and green spaces 'fit for purpose' for the 21st century. The arguments about access to these public spaces during the Covid-19 outbreak has thrown this debate into sharp relief.
One idea is presented here by Chris Williamsom of Weston Williamson + Partners - a 'cultural necklace' to link together and make more of smaller spaces within the capital.
At Weston Williamson + Partners we have held 2 breakfast seminars looking at ideas for London Parks. It was felt that the major parks whether Green Park, Hyde Park or Burgess Park generally work well and offer something for everyone. There were calls for more wilding, better play provision and even more brass bands utilising those amazing band stands, but in the main they are a fantastic resource for necessary urban respite which we should treasure.
We felt however there were a number smaller urban spaces which would benefit from some love and attention. One proposal which emerged as a favourite with caffeine fuelled enthusiasm was the creation of a “cultural necklace” where pocket parks and underused small urban spaces would be threaded together with a particular theme. We decided to concentrate on spaces around our studio in Waterloo hoping that others would do the same in their locality.
The inspiration is Sydney’s ‘Sculpture by the sea’ and VIVID both of which attract huge numbers walking through the city to look at the sculpture or lighting installations. Our own proposal could be temporary or permanent and would be curated differently depending on location. We would choose emerging sculptors and commission a bespoke piece for a particular location. We have recently been able to commission fantastic young sculptors such as Jamie Fitzpatrick an alumni of the RCA in London via the VITRINE gallery and Saad Qureshi from Oxford when has also just completed a residency at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Also Marco Palli from New York.
There are many other brilliant emerging sculptors who have the capacity to study a location and produce works which resonate with the locality to add interest and enable the viewer to make connections which they may otherwise miss. Their works would thread together to form a walk through our neighbourhood. There is something compelling about experiencing art in the environment which is much more powerful than in a gallery. The images above show an example of the range of interesting sculpture which would juxtapose with the urban realm to create truly wonderful experience.