Jewellery for Buildings

Posted by Jo Beckett on

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf/ Riverside studios

In 2017 I was invited by the cultural placemaking agency, Future City, to pitch to design a permanent piece of public art, for the exterior facade of Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. To my delight my design was chosen and the Artwork was completed and launched in 2019.

I knew that the artwork needed to respond to its location; a vibrant urban environment, close to the banks of the River Thames and the new home to a creative hub of innovation and ideas. I wanted the artwork to celebrate all these elements.

I drew inspiration from aerial photographs and maps of London – in particular Hammersmith’s topography and the curve of the Thames in this spot. With all this in mind, I based the composition for the artwork very loosely on a bird’s eye view of the local area.

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf / Riverside studios

As you can see, I created the sculpture in my signature metamorphic style; formed of multiple elements coming together to form a vibrant whole, which hints at geological form.

The many elements and textures within the sculpture reflect the sprawl of the city, the ebb and flow of the river, the diverse cultures of the people, the coming together of ideas and creativity at Riverside Studios. The observer may find themselves studying the artwork and recognising what it represents, or it may remain simple and beautifully abstract.

Reflecting light

You may know that I’m fascinated by light.  I love to create a dazzling effect by harnessing the way light is reflected through each of my designs and this sculpture was no exception. 

The sculpture is built from five groups of elements; each group’s facets point in the same direction thus reflecting light in the same way at the same time from the same point. The overall effect is for the five different groups glow at different times as the viewer moves around the artwork – or as the light changes around it.

Due to their orientation, the elements create dramatic shadows that will change as the light changes throughout the day – the shadows will at times give the illusion that the textured sheet elements are more solid than they really are.

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf / Riverside studios

From jewellery to public art 

The scale and scope of the project demanded working with an array of different parties: from the client, developers Mount Anvil and Future City, who facilitated and managed the project, to the council, town planners, structural engineers, and the amazing fabrication company Millimetre who worked with us to create and install the sculpture.

This was a venture of collaboration. I have always shared creative projects with my Husband, fellow designer Laszlo Beckett, and he was a key team member in both the design and production stages of the Artwork.

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf / Riverside studios

Making the leap from designing fine jewellery to this large scale, public sculpture was a joy - my jewellery is very sculptural and architectural, indeed it’s often described as ‘wearable sculpture’, so scaling up my designs to create a sculpture for a building was a wonderful fit for me - jewellery for buildings!

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf / Riverside studios

As a born and bred Londoner it was a huge honour to create a piece of public art for Londoners to enjoy, that celebrates an iconic London institution and the creativity that stems from it. London is rightly proud of its cultural heritage, I hope that in a small way my sculpture serves to enhance that.

Jo Hayes Ward Artwork Queens Wharf / Riverside studios

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