River of Wells
A public space intervention at Blackfriars for the City of London Corporation
A joyful, interactive public realm intervention which positively connects people to the hidden natural and historic aspects of the site. It provides a strong sense of identity to a forgotten space and forms part of the wider Riverside Walk Enhancement Scheme.
DELIGHT, INTERACTION AND ENGAGEMENT
This unexpected, playful installation is inspired by the colourful folklore of the hidden River Fleet, which joins the Thames at the site and was known as the “River of Wells”. The existing landscaping appears to transform into “well-like” structures, filled with a glistening surface. These encased panels of mirror-polished steel reflect light from high-level spotlights onto the underside of the listed bridge structure – the brightness changing with the ebb and flow of the tide.
A path of “stepping stones” invites interaction and play, whilst poetry describing the myth of the Fleet Ditch is inscribed into the Corten casings of the installation. The vibrant colour palette is inspired by Monet’s depictions of the Thames in changing weather conditions.
IMAGINATION & INGENUITY
The innovative vision for the proposal was developed through close collaboration with lighting designers and a specialist artwork fabricator. The detailed resolution of the “well” modules was led by 1 to 1 prototyping and on -site testing of the lighting effects and reflections.
The pre-fabricated, “kit of parts” approach taken reduces both costs and installation time on site to minimise disruption to pedestrian movement.
“Having worked with NRD on this project, I am delighted to say that they provided innovative, creative and functional design solutions to a challenging site, with imaginative and practical responses throughout the design process.”
Luke Joyce, Project Manager, City of London.