Green-fingered Saville transforms London park

Graphic designer Peter Saville and artists Gary Hume and Georgie Hopton are designing a series of plant-based installations to transform St Luke’s Gardens, located in Clerkenwell, East London.

The project has been commissioned by independent creative consultancy Scarlet Projects, which is working in partnership with the Government-run initiative EC1 New Deal for Communities, plus Islington Council’s Greenspace and the Arts Council of England.

The intention is to overhaul the now somewhat dilapidated gardens with a series of engaging and unusual installations to encourage visitors and generate debate over the current approaches to public space design.

Saville’s plant-based design will be put into the garden this spring, while Hume and Hopton’s work will launch next year. Other designers may be drafted in to create additional installations and the concept could also be rolled out to other gardens throughout London, if it is well received.

Claire Catterall, director at Scarlet Projects, is keen to stress that the St Luke’s Transformations project is ‘experimental’ at this stage.

Saville’s ‘abstract’ design will reference the rich printing industry heritage of the local area. The theme is said to draw inspiration from the CMYK four colour printing process used in reprographics. The colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black will be manipulated together for visual effect.

‘Saville is aiming to put something in the garden that has a reason for being there, which means something to the local area and its residents. He was anxious to create a design that refers to the area specifically,’ explains Catterall.

The designs by Gary Hume and Georgie Hopton are still being worked up and each installation will cover the flowerbeds of the garden.

An exhibition, Blooming St Luke’s, will document the progress of the St Luke’s Transformations project. Launching next month at London’s Architecture Foundation Gallery, it will include the ideas behind the installations and show specially commissioned films about the gardens and the surrounding area, as well as interviews with the artists. The exhibition will run from 1 to 8 February. It aims to redress how public spaces are designed and used.

All of the artists live and work in East London and consider St Luke’s Gardens to be their local park. The garden is situated behind St Luke’s Church, now the LSO Education Centre.

Up to £52.9m is being invested in the EC1 area over the next five years to help tackle run-down physical environments and poor access to housing, health and jobs.

Saville recently collaborated to create an on-line gallery of content for mobile phones called Candyspace (DW 6 January 2005).

St Luke’s transformation project:

• Plant installations by Peter Saville, 2006

• Gary Hume and Georgie Hopton, 2007

• Other works potentially to follow

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