The City of London is known for its twisting alleyways. But while many have been there since Medieval times, Plantation Lane has only existed since 2005.
Tranquil and ethereal, this new piece of public art creates a unique pathway through one of the oldest parts of London.
Plantation Lane runs between two of our buildings: Plantation Place and Plantation Place South. The dig for the site unearthed artefacts dating as far back as Boudicea – a reminder of the area’s distinctive history.
We wanted the path in some way to bridge this gap between present and past, one vision to celebrate time and place. We also wanted it to be both functional and emotional – a tranquil place for people to escape from the nearby hustle and bustle of the city.
"An adventurous Challenge to the imaginations of those who pass along this fillet of the city of London's Public realm.. It injects not just a spirit of place, but spirit of new place."
JAY MERRICK, ARCHITECTURE CORRESPONDENT, THE INDEPENDENT
Instead of commissioning art at the end of the project, we worked with artists and designers from the very start.
Simon Patterson, 1996 Turner Prize nominee, was a natural partner. His interest in combining visual and textual references formed the basis of designs where light, art, architecture and language all merge seamlessly.
The central point of the design is a glass screen, 41 metres long and six metres high.
An image of the moon covers the whole wall, with LED lights changing the background colour over time.
In an area that has gone through dramatic changes throughout history, the moon is a symbol of constancy, a reminder of our connections to the past.
Beneath the screen, a collection of texts are laser cut into the stone pavement. Each curve represents a different timeline through London’s history, charting events and miscellanea, from the great plague to the hierarchy of the Freemasons.
Whether you follow a timeline from start to finish, or dip into the stream of words for a taster of the area’s history, a stroll through Plantation Lane provides the perfect antidote to commercialised public spaces.
Quiet, peaceful and inspiring, it’s a chance to reflect on the past before you rush back into the present.
CLIENT: BRITISH LAND COMPANY PLC
ART AND ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT: ARUP ASSOCIATES WITH SIMON PATTERSON
ENGINEERING: ARUP ASSOCIATES