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Posts Tagged ‘Shaftesbury Civic Society’

Public Art Projects – Shaftesbury

Friday, June 8th, 2012

It’s been a long time since I mentioned any progress on the various public art projects Adam Zombory Moldovan of ZMMA Architects and I have been working on. That’s not because there has been no progress, far from it. We have now completed the model and visuals for the Common Places project in the middle of town which was recently unveiled by Shaftesbury Civic Society to coincide with the launch of Adam’s new Shaftesbury office.

We also wanted it to be on display during Dorset Art Weeks. The High Street facing studio/gallery is a venue during the event, it should mean lots of people get to see it and comment. As well as that Common Places work, Adam is showing recent architectural projects and displaying a selected show of artists from North Dorset. There is also a set of our Torii Tables on display, as well as the stunning pippy oak pivot-hinge door and elm table we made for Adam as permanent features of the space.Commons#624FA9

What we are proposing for the Commons artwork comprises of various elements including twisted cast greenstone planks which form seats and surfaces to sit, stand, perform and work on. The other major form is a sliced ‘pebble’ made of slabs of timber from local estates, reflecting the towns market status and relationship with the surrounding landscape. At ground level stone text panels made of different local stones will act as directional signage from the Commons and also tell ‘Shaftesbury tales’; those stories about characters and places in the town that would not make the guide books, but somehow tell you more about the rich culture of a place.

Commons FI#624FA3

Commenting on the propasals, Jan Scott, Secretary of Shaftesbury Civic Society said: “Adam and Simon’s proposals show a real sensitivity and deep understanding of the town; to its history, development, geology, geography, its palette of materials and of course its people. Common Places is also a bold statement of pride and confidence in the future of Shaftesbury.”

The other public art site(s) are on the Persimmon Homes development at East Shaftesbury. The two projects are entirely seperate in terms of funding but linked by ideas, research and a broad desire to integrate this significant new development and its new ‘settlers’ to the existing town and population. Persimmon Collage smaller

How do you make those new residents truly connect to the town, its shops and people, and not just jump in their car to shop in the larger towns around it? A public art trail can’t tackle these big issues by itself, but making those visual connections can help to create links and a cohesive vision for a small market town like Shaftesbury.

So far we have had proposals and costings accepted for the 1st East Shaftesbury Persimmon site called The Rickyard. Actual work and installation looks like it will be in early in 2013. We are now looking at a much larger second site called Mampitts Square, effectively the centre new town square with shops, parking, bus stops and public seating. There are footpaths that connect these sites to the old town and further to the surrounding landscape. These ‘routes’ give us the opportunity to repeat themes, helping to create walking, art and tourist trails with the distinctive character that old and new Shaftesbury deserves.

The Common Places scale model is now on display at the new ZMMA studio and gallery at 54a High Street, Shaftesbury.

East Shaftesbury Public Art

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Persimmon Site long

At the moment the ‘Rickyard’ is a rather wind swept space on the edge of the new East Shaftesbury Persimmon Homes development; a square waiting for its houses and residents to arrive and create a community. The only sign of what’s to come is the word ‘seat’ is optimistically sprayed on some earth surrounded by new planting. Shaftesbury is a beautiful town, a gem sitting high in the north Dorset landscape, full of history, the bustle of trade and colourful individuals. All this new housing could be seen as an imposition, a bit of an ‘interloper’.

Can art help ease this transition – make connections between old and new development, create a cohesive link between the ‘Common Places’ project we have been involved with in the centre of town and the completely new community half a mile to the East? Well Adam Zombory Moldovan from ZMMA and I believe so. Our ambition for the various public and private schemes we are working on is that they do just that, make links in both a physical and aesthetic way, linking future to past and past to present. We’d love public art to play a role in the town’s everyday life, helping guide people around, tell stories, challenge and at its most mundane provide places to sit, meet, trade and celebrate.

Rickyard 'Seat' 1Rickyard PlanRickyard logs
Rickyard plan of bench
Beyond that it could also bring an entirely new audience to Shaftesbury, those who come specifically because they love public art: I’m imagining a town celebrated for its forward thinking and cohesive approach to public art, some by Adam & I as a partnership, but also works by many others. New ideas making the place dynamic and exciting. They wouldn’t loose the visitors that come because the place is historic and achingly pretty. They may loose a few that come because of the ‘Hovis’ connection – although I suspect half of them are traveling around North Yorkshire trying to find the place. A town can not live on bread alone.

Back to the ‘Rickyard’ which will be the first site in Shaftesbury to have something completed, hopefully in late summer 2012… The concept is to link the development to the landscape around it, bringing some of that into the bricks, tarmac and planting schemes which always look so harsh before they mellow and mature. The small green where the piece will be located will be surrounded by houses – eventually. A footpath runs through the site linking the landscapes around Charlton Down and Melbury Hill to the town. This will take you right through our ‘interventions’.

Rickyard Collage smaller

The installation consists of vertically sliced oak logs which are selected for their curvy character and form. These are suspended above the ground by split scorched timber masts. Needless to say they do form seats, but I’m guessing they will be climbed on by kids and have all sorts of other uses and connotations. There will be a contrast between the organic log form and the much more finished ‘furniture like’ top surface. The texture and colour of the masts will also contrast with the bulk of the log. It’s a familiar sight to me, like the stacks of timber I’ll search through in a timber yard when selecting for a furniture commission. These are cut vertically rather horizontally though, and the cuts will follow the natural curve of the tree, creating some very exciting forms.

Next up is the more substantial ‘Mampitts Square’ a central public space within the Persimmon development where buses stop, people shops, park and live. Lots of potential for seating and public art work. Keep watching this space.