Heddon Street

Heddon Street, West End of London, UK

Client testimonial

‘Plan Projects have worked on several public realm arts projects for us. Their approach has been to research the project thoroughly, to fully consider the background taking into account our aspirations and produce a brief which balances artistic aspirations and practicality. They have a good understanding of the role of that cultural activity can play in creating value in the public realm.’

Peter Bourne, Development Manager, The Crown Estate

Client

The Crown Estate

Principal Stakeholders

  • The community of restauranteurs in Heddon Street
  • Westminster City Council

Summary

The commission for Heddon Street sought to employ the creativity of artists to assert the identity of the street as a place of creativity and recreation within the West End and as one of the Food Quarters of Regent Street.

Context

The vision for the commissioned work was to add to the ensemble of signifiers that express the identity of the street as a place of fun, recreation and repose. Furthermore, the commissioned work was to be retrofitted into an environment that was already complete. It was important, therefore, that the commissioned artist recognise and take into account the unique architectural qualities of the place into which the work would be placed, in particular the Nash Façade along Regent Street.

Community

The key community Plan worked with in the development of the Public Art Strategy were the restaurateurs in the street. Working within the art group, they were instrumental in choosing the Ian McChesney as the successful candidate.

Vision

The project envisaged commissioning a highly original landmark for the West End of London that would immediately prompt in people’s minds food and pleasures associated with its consumption. While centring on food, we envisaged the work should also capture the wider values and attractions that Heddon Street represents. In consultation the notion of ‘holiday’ was put forward as capturing in one word the themes of consumption, indulgence, sensuality and good times for which the street has become well known.

Concept

The client selected a proposal by Ian McChesney to take forward. His proposal is to lay up a beautiful configuration of forks in a shape that is redolent of a large fish. The form of the work is a large suspended sculpture that, while resembling a fish, is sufficiently abstract to allow other associations and interpretations.

McChesney writes that ‘the piece reflects a recognition that the work should symbolise the food quarter and express an atmosphere of indulgence and pleasure. It was important to us that our work also holds a monumental value, slightly restrained, so that it imbues a sense of mystery and meaning.’