Art to elevate Malls

Living in the East End of London I have been watching the development of the 2012 Olympic site with excitement and curiosity.

Part of the plans for the development is a Westfield shopping mall (it has almost become the centre piece of the grand plan, alongside the main stadium).

There is an emphasis on the use of art and design to elevate this mega-structure from predictable shopping destination to a place of cultural importance.  It also makes a reference to the locale, where Europe’s largest concentration of artists and designers live and work.

A committee of London designers, artists, cultural critics and Erin O-Connor was assembled.  Art is represented by Tracey Emin and Tony Chambers from Wallpaper Magazine.  A comission was called and the winning artist, Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, is to create an artwork that will ‘become ingrained in the fabric of the develpment when it opens in September 2011’.

It will be interesting to see how Fernandez’s work integrates with the building, and how the public will react to it.

This is a recurring theme where art is utilised to lend credibility to a project, whether it is a city square, an office building, a hospital, or a shopping mall.  These projects tend to result in either hum-drum artworks that become urban furniture, or over-blown ego-boosters (like Anish Kapoor’s ‘Orbit’ which will be looming over the Westfield Centre).

Emin and Fernandez

Fernandez and Emin

For more info:http://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/

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