Grand Union Canal

London Borough of Brent, North West London


United House

Principal Stakeholders

  • J Sainsbury
  • Architects: Hunter & Partners
  • Local authority: London Borough of Brent
  • Artist: Rupert Burt


Commission to procure a work of art to create a powerful artistic presence at a residential development on the Grand Union Canal.


The most important physical reference for the artist was the canal itself. The artist was briefed to create a work that would operate successfully in counterpoint to this important  feature and provide a sense of visual animation along the tow path.


Essential to the evolution of the project was to obtain the input of people living locally to the development. Plan Projects set up a series of consultation events, working in conjunction with J Sainsbury, one of whose stores is adjacent to the site. Run over two days, these involved interviewing people living locally to the site to understand how a work of public art could add value to their environment.

In particular we wanted to find out what nature of art would be likely to be embraced by local people and the local themes and cultural references people felt the art could address. This material was fed directly into our brief for the commissioned artist so as to ensure the final work would resonate for local people.


Rupert Burt devised a series of elegantly painted panels with abstract waveforms. Burt’s works explore the interface between science and art, and using a technique similar to that of developing photographs, he bleaches different layers of paint to create a sense of fluid movement.