Richard Deacon’s Cornice London, St James’s Gateway Art Project Photo, English Design News

Richard Deacon’s Cornice, London St James’s Gateway Art

Piccadilly Development, England, UK building design by Eric Parry Architects

7 Mar 2013

The Crown Estate unveils Richard Deacon’s cornice in Piccadilly at its St James’s Gateway development designed by Eric Parry Architects

St James’s Gateway Art:
Richard Deacon’s Cornice London St James's Gateway Art
photograph : Dirk Lindner

Richard Deacon’s Cornice

A major new piece of public art has been unveiled in Piccadilly today (6 March 2013) in front of an audience of leading figures from the world of art, architecture, property and local government; these included Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate, artists Richard Deacon and Antony Gormley, together with Alison Nimmo, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of the City of Westminster, and Eric Parry of Eric Parry Architects.

Renowned artist Richard Deacon – a past Turner Prize winner – has created a dramatic sculptural cornice for St James’s Gateway, The Crown Estate’s first redevelopment in its 10-year plan to transform St James’s. The 25-metre glowing artwork is Deacon’s first sculpture to be integrated with a building, and the result of a close collaboration with architect Eric Parry, whose practice is responsible for the design of Gateway.

The cornice is formed of 39 individual, ceramic transfer sculptures, articulated by geometric structure and combinations of colour to create a unique pattern of modules which recalls the polychromy and artifice of Piccadilly Circus.

The artwork has been thoughtfully integrated into the architecture to contrast the quiet order evident in the lower storeys of the building, which blends contemporary modern elevations with retained Portland stone façades.

St James’s Gateway is the first building in the UK to employ ceramic transfer to the faience façade. This method, which was developed in Stoke-on-Trent in the 18th century, has not been used for architectural ceramic before and has here been applied to Deacon’s cornice as well as to the red-coloured frames of the double-height windows below.

Richard Deacon’s Cornice on Piccadilly:
Richard Deacon’s Cornice London Piccadilly St James's
photo : Dirk Lindner

James Cooksey, Head of St James’s Portfolio at The Crown Estate said: “Our investment in St James’s is quickly creating an exciting retail and business destination based around a vibrant local community. That’s why providing vibrant public spaces that connect people through shared experiences is so important and why we see art as an essential part of what makes St James’s so special. Public art like this piece by Richard can inspire community connections, especially important in Piccadilly, one of London’s most busiest and prominent locations.”

Eric Parry, Principal at Eric Parry Architects said: “I was delighted to work with Richard Deacon on this project and to assist the development of an artwork which is so sympathetic to the architecture below. The cornice is inspired by the exuberance and activity of the nearby Piccadilly Circus and shows how true collaborations between architects and artists can enrich the experience of buildings for inhabitants of, and visitors to, London.”

The scheme will deliver 57,000 sq ft office space, 28,000 sq ft retail space and 18,000 sq ft residential space. The building is due for completion in the summer 2013. Located in St James’s Conservation Area, it occupies a prominent block bounded by Piccadilly, Lower Regent Street, Jermyn Street and Eagle Place. The scheme merges a series of existing buildings into a new development combining a major new building with a retained façade and the refurbishment of a standalone listed building, to create offices, retail space and contemporary residential units.

Richard Deacon’s Cornice Piccadilly images / information from the Crown Estate

St James’s Gateway Development architect : Eric Parry

One Eagle Place Development, St James – 14 Jun 2013

Location: Piccadilly, London, UK

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