Barking Town Square, East London Lighting Installations, Architect, Images, Dagenham muf design

Barking Town Square London

Dagenham Architecture, southeast England, UK Lighting Installations design by muf

25 Nov 2011

Barking Town Square Installation

Forest of Light Grows in Barking Town Square

For one week only, a forest of light will help transform Barking Town Square, East London.

The Square will play home to two unique lighting installations called Barking Illuminations which are part of Molten Festival. The displays will transform the Square using jaw-dropping and interactive light-art.

Lightwaves by Creatmosphere:
Barking Town Square
photo : James Newton

An empty shop in the Bath House building will ‘grow’ its very own Digital Urban Forest, while the Town Square and the Town Hall will become unrecognisable. The installations will transform the Square each night, from Saturday 26 November to Saturday 3 December as part of the Molten Festival.

The dazzling forest of light, officially called Digital Urban Forest, is by the cross-genre art studio Creatmosphere, while Town Squared is produced by the technical students from Central School of Speech and Drama.

Creatmosphere, who have produced light-art projects internationally, will transform an empty shop into the Digital Urban Forest. The Forest will emulate the glistening beauty of the natural world and expand the Town Square’s tree lined street into a canopy of light and sound. The Digital Urban Forest combines lighting and projection effects, video mapping and generative digital content to transform the square into an ever-changing imaginary landscape.

Laurent Louyer of Creatmosphere describes the site-specific work: “The Digital Urban Forest was inspired by the natural reflections and shadows of the tree-lined Square (in Barking) into the glass-fronted retail space. We wanted to bring some of the outside world inside and create a digitally generated forest that responded to the scale, layout and architectural structure of the building.

“In terms of light sources and controls, the installation uses analogue to the latest digital technology, bringing a mix of the best to create this imagined and surprising landscape. Prepare for the unexpected as passersby encounter the four seasons unfolding in light over the course of the week. Make sure to return to see how the forest changes.”

Running for 8 nights, the reactive digital forest illuminates the rhythmic qualities of the natural world within the urban landscape by carving an immersive pathway through the seasons. As each day passes the magical organic habitat flourishes and grows casting on new light on the street. If you look closely, a glimpse of the unexpected may be found.

Town Squared by Central School of Speech and Drama will make visitors to the familiar environment of Barking Town Square see it in a new light as lighting designer Alastair Noonan and lighting students from Central School of Speech and Drama transform the Square and Barking Town Hall with their innovative, colour-changing lighting design.

The free art installation opens at 5pm on Saturday 26 November and will be on each day from dusk until 10pm until Saturday 3 December, when the Molten Festival closes with a finale performance of Hydromania, a live show with human water fountains, opera and fireworks from Avanti Display.

Barking Installations are part of the week-long Molten Festival, based in Barking and produced by Remarkable Productions on behalf of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

6 May 2008

Barking Town Square

Barking Town Square wins 5th European Prize for Urban Public Space

Barking Town Square building
photograph by Jonathan Player for The New York Times, 24th Sept 2007

Barking Town Square, designed by muf architecture/art has been declared winner of the 5th European Prize for Urban Public Space, making it the first project in Britain to receive the prestigious prize.

The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial prize awarded to projects which foster the process of recovering the public dimension of urban spaces in Europe, as well as their capacity for social inclusion and democracy-building in our cities. Barking Town Square was selected by the prize’s jury from 176 entries from locations in 26 European countries.

Barking Town Square building colonnade Essex
photo courtesy of architects

The jury applauded the creative collaboration between muf architecture/art, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Redrow Regeneration and Allford Hall Monaghan and Morris, commending muf’s scheme for incorporating multiple architectural languages to enhance the new development, creating a place of distinctive character.

Councillor Sid Kallar MBE, executive member for regeneration, said: “I am absolutely delighted by this award as it places Barking and Dagenham firmly on the international map. The development of Barking Town Square has been an integral part of the regeneration of the borough as a whole, and it is extremely gratifying that our efforts, and those of muf architecture/art, have been acknowledged in this way.”

Liza Fior, muf architecture/art said: “We are delighted that Barking Town Square has been awarded this accolade. The ambition is to mix mystery and utility. We are now half way through the project and the close working and collaboration continues”.

Barking Town Square, one of Design for London’s 100 Public Spaces, is a truly civic and mixed ensemble of buildings and uses, a place where a town hall, a library, a University of East London presence, the one stop shop, a child and primary health centre, a major public art commission, approximately 500 new homes, retail and cafes. All of these facilities come together around a 6000 sqm ‘T’ shaped square which comprises four interlocking elements; a civic square, an arboretum, a folly wall and an arcade.

The Town Hall Square is the centre-piece of the scheme. It is furnished with pale pink stretch benches each 6 metres long on a floor of pink Spanish Granite, providing a civic space where new and existing communities can meet.

The folly wall encloses the square by introducing a fourth elevation onto the square, completing the urban composition of Town Hall and new library and learning building. It recovers the texture of the lost historic fabric of the town centre. Ffeaturing 19th Century architectural salvage built by master bricklayers and apprentices of Barking College and planted with indigenous species it stands as a memento-mori to this current cycle of regeneration.

The Arcade runs beneath the new library and housing development on the East of the square, providing access to a café on the ground floor. It is paved in black and white tiles that refer to both grandeur of arcades and the paths of the London’s Edwardian villas and illuminated by dramatic ‘diamond light’ chandeliers.

Barking Town Square London
image from architect

The next phase of the project consists of an extensive arboretum adjacent to the Arcade, which will be unveiled in May 2009. The arboretum will comprise 40 mature trees of 16 different species arranged to create settings of different scales and character, which invite exploration, performance and play. Play will not be ring fenced here but instead fostered through:
– the occasional miniaturization of street furniture
– hiding spaces
– artifice whereby cast tree branches and stacked tree trunks form balustrades and walls
– literary reference and landscapes for role play

The arboretum will be illuminated by suspended chandeliers; the intensity of the light will adjust with the seasons and respond to the changing colour of the leaves.

Design : muf architecture/art

The European Prize for Urban Public Space is organized by the Centre de Cultura
Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), the Architecture Foundation, London (AF), the
Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W), la Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine of Paris, the Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo of Helsinki (SRM) and the Nederlands Architectuurinstituut of Rotterdam (NAI).

Members of the jury included:
Manuel de Solà-Morales, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB);
Ole Bouman, Director of the Nederlands Architectuurinstituut (NAi);
Dietmar Steiner, Director of Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W);
Francis Rambert, Director of the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine of Paris;
Rowan Moore, Director of the Architecture Foundation (London);
Severi Blomstedt, Director of the Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo (SRM)

Location: Barking, East London, England, UK

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