Paddington Square, London’s new quarter for work, retail and dining at the heart of Paddington’s regeneration, has today announced a major programme of public art commissions, comprising first London permanent public works by internationally renowned artists Ugo Rondinone, Pae White and Catherine Yass. The artworks will be unveiled with the full opening of Paddington Square next year.
A site-specific 5-metre bronze sculpture by Ugo Rondinone will provide a bold new focal point for the millions of visitors travelling between Praed Street and Paddington station each year. Pae White will suspend a large and experiential installation that caps four levels of shops and restaurants both above and below ground, opening out onto a new public piazza and framing the entrance to the new landmark 14 storey workspace designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Catherine Yass will take over a 24-metre-long wall of the neighbouring St Mary’s Hospital to deliver a large-scale collaborative photographic installation featuring and celebrating NHS workers.
Partnering with The Showroom, a public contemporary art space based nearby Paddington Square, the programme will see the creation of a new series of collaborative murals at Tanner Lane, situated between Paddington Square and St Mary’s Hospital. The commissioned murals will each be in-situ for one year at a time, providing a rotational site for temporary public artworks, each responding to the overarching theme of ‘care’. Artist Kathrin Böhm will launch the series in 2022, followed by Rhea Dillon in 2023 and Long Distance Press (Adam Shield and Thomas Whittle) in 2024. Created through collaborative processes, the mural cycle creates a new context for The Showroom’s programme in Paddington, allowing a wide audience of visitors, workers and local residents to enjoy and engage with contemporary art practice.
The public art programme at Paddington Square has been led by developer Sellar and London-based curatorial agency Lacuna, with the aim of delivering a diverse and dynamic arts programme for the public and community to enjoy, engaging with the best local, UK and international talent. As a major public gateway to London, Paddington Square will provide locals and visitors with a unique cultural experience, bringing internationally-renowned and emerging UK-based artists, working across different disciplines, to the streets of the capital to be enjoyed as part of a daily commute or as a weekend visit.
A jury of leading experts were brought in to support the selection of the artists involved including Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Charity Trust; Eleanor Pinfield, Head of Art on Underground; Shumi Bose, Curator at RIBA and Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Central Saint Martins; Andrea Schlieker, Head of Collections, Tate Britain; Edwin Heathcote, Architecture & Design Critic at the Financial Times; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Artistic Director of Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and former Director of The Showroom; and Joost Moolhuijzen, Project Architect and Director, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
Each of the artist commissions will be site-specific to Paddington Square, and sit at four locations on and around the Renzo Piano-designed building, directly adjacent to Paddington Station. The pieces will enliven the building itself, nearby spaces and a new large-scale public square, providing focal points both for those who work at Paddington Square and the many millions of visitors who will pass through annually.
The Paddington Square art programme will also mark the inauguration of an open-air Paddington Art Walk, which will incorporate other public artworks in the neighbourhood. Additional major new works planned for Paddington include Spencer Finch’s A Cloud Index, housed within the 120-metre long roof canopy of the new Crossrail entrance to Paddington Station, due to open in the first half of 2022.
James Sellar, CEO of Sellar, said "Art and design has the capacity to elevate conversations, to inspire us and create moments of joy, offering points for interaction and reflection. In this spirit we are delighted to be presenting a world-class public art programme, to be enjoyed by the millions who will work in Paddington Square, visit its shops and restaurants, or pass through its public square. Working with a highly talented and experienced curatorial team and jury, we have selected artists that represent a series of firsts for Paddington, for London and for the UK. It is a very exciting time for the area, with Paddington Square opening next year, and we're looking forward to the public being able to visit and enjoy the works."
Stella Ioannou (Director) & Jade Niklai (Associate Curator), Lacuna, said: "The Paddington Square public art programme acts as a conversation starter: to demonstrate and inspire the power, beauty, potential and responsibility of curating art in the public realm. Our curatorial approach takes its cues from the vision of Sellar, together with Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s architectural ambition to bring one of London’s biggest transport gateways to life through public spaces and contemporary art. Lacuna conducted extensive research into the neighbourhood, working with local communities and engaging with a diverse set of stakeholders, greatly enriching our curatorial approach and the development of these landmark commissions with leading international artists. While lockdown presented us with new challenges, it also allowed us to develop novel methods for critical engagement with the evolving cultural conversation, which visitors will see borne out in the final works as they are unveiled in 2022."
Paddington Square is a development by Sellar on behalf of Great Western Developments Ltd, a joint venture between Hotel Properties Limited and Anchorage View Pte. Ltd.