Having been appointed by Commissions East to work on the redevelopment of the town centre I created a strong footprint for the reclaimed Market Square, connecting the space to surrounding carparks for the displaced cars. The former print industry in the town had led to housing estates being named after fonts (Clarendon, Caslon) and these are reflected in the design.
Research with the local historian led me to the diecase matrix, central to the hot metal letter press process, of which each typeface had its own layout. Consequently, within the space I created 72 Square metres of cast iron type face in varying fonts surrounded by visual motifs that spoke of the history of the town; Garood, inventor of the penny farthing bicycle, a lord high admiral, among others.
Creating projects that are “rooted in a sense of place” is precisely how I approach developing Public spaces. Bringing to light hidden, forgotten, or departed aspects of a Place allow a layered sense of interpretation. Researching the stories that are attached to Place is an important preliminary step in the process. Synthesising them into Artworks is the critical moment, generating something that speaks both of the past, but also of the present and the future.
I was responsible for the orientation and layout of the square as well the lighting fixtures, and commissioning of bespoke furniture and wayfinding. The bespoke gun metal light fittings were detailed and fabricated by a company called Evolution Lighting under my supervision and installed by the main contractor on site.
The scheme won the Design Award at the British Council for Shopping Centres Awards in 2001 and became the visual reference for the town’s turnaround in perception as a desirable place to live.
A foundry in Norwich provided the castings, the patterns having been designed by myself and produced by a sub-contractor in Newcastle. There was also input form the Highway Engineers in the detail for installation.