Thorney Island & Phyllis

Submitted by Elaine Mullings

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Client: Conran Partners/Barratt Homes

Location: London, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2014

Project Team

Artist

Elaine Mullings

Architect

Alia Centofani

Conran + Partners

Overview

'Thorney Island' – 3160 x 1900 x 460mm and 'Phyllis' – 3190 x 980 x 460mm, are two site-specific sculptures inspired by their location within London's Westminster. The pieces were commissioned for the reception area of The Courthouse, a new development of luxury apartments in the Horseferry Road, SW1. Both works describe these places in abstraction using bold lines to form asymmetrical, geometric shapes. Water-jet cut from mild steel plate and hand painted, they are abstract drawings mapping the urban outlines of the Horseferry Road and the district of Westminster.

Goals

The brief was to create contemporary artworks that would remain distinct within Conran’s interior design which nods to Art Deco style and the use of materials including marble, bronze and brass finishes. In creating the work for The Courthouse, which now sits on the former site of the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, it was important to reflect elements of the past and a sense of place. ‘Thorney Island’ refers to the historic core of Westminster which started life as an eyot (or small island) on the Thames, upstream of mediaeval London, where Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster(the Houses of Parliament) were built.
‘Phyllis’ is a loose abstract, physical description of the Horseferry Road and the title refers to Phyllis Isobella Pearsall, MBE (1906 –1996) who created London's first popular indexed map - The A to Z - while living in a bedsit in Horseferry Road.

Process

The clients were very committed to the initial idea of abstract maps and as the project developed through site visits and meetings, we explored various options for creating this complex work to a high standard within the budget. Very little changed from the original concept which I adapted the work as the spec for the area changed. Once we were all happy with the drawings and the samples, fabrication went ahead. Working with the fabricator, Scott Associates was delightful. They immediately understood what I were trying to achieve and made the whole process run as smoothly and quickly as possible.