Dezeen commissions artist Kelly Anna to design artwork for Paddington Square
Dezeen and developer Sellar have teamed up to commission illustrator Kelly Anna to create an artwork to wrap around the site of Paddington Square, an upcoming development in London designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
The development is centred on a crystalline building that will house 14 floors of light-filled workspaces with views across London.
The building, which will stand next to a new public piazza, will have four floors of fashion shops along with bars and restaurants at its base above a new entrance to Paddington Underground station.
Paddington Square will be topped by west London's highest rooftop restaurants. The development is due to be completed in spring 2022.
Kelly Anna explained how her artwork responds to the character of the development in an exclusive video interview filmed by Dezeen for Sellar, the developer managing Paddington Square.
The piece was commissioned by Dezeen and Sellar, which was also behind London Bridge's Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper The Shard, on behalf of owner Great Western Developments.
The artwork is entitled Nurture Nature and features the artist's signature athletic figures passing through a colourful landscape of plants and arched portals.
The artwork is installed in repeating tiles on hoarding that surrounds the building site. A figure from the piece has also been blown up to rise 14 metres above the site, installed on an outside wall of the development's multi-storey marketing suite.
"I was briefed to create an artwork to communicate the idea of Paddington being this gateway into London," says Kelly Anna in the exclusive video interview, which was filmed at her studio in Hackney.
According to the illustrator, the artwork is intended to express the welcoming spirit of Paddington, a key hub for visitors arriving in London from elsewhere in the UK as well as abroad via Heathrow Airport.
Kelly Anna depicted the characters in the piece carrying fruits from around the world as they pass through the arched portals, reflecting the international nature of Paddington Square.
"Paddington is a massive transport hub, and you've got people coming from all over the world," explained the artist.
"I wanted to create something really bright, bold and colourful, to express the idea that people are coming together again and meeting."
The piece draws inspiration from Renzo Piano Building Workshop's design for Paddington Square, touching on the aesthetics of the structure as well as the principles of sustainability and wellbeing at its core.
"Paddington Square was designed in this really geometrical style with a focus on sustainability," said the artist. "I really wanted to incorporate that in my design, mixing nature and architectural buildings."
The artwork also incorporates foliage and waterways in reference to the abundance of parks and canals that surround the site.
Kelly Anna sees the commission as a beacon of positivity and colour in the city, and a creative use of building site hoardings.
"What I really loved about this project is the idea that we using this hoarding as a space for art," she said.
"It just automatically brightens up the city," she continued. "For me, that's the most important thing, that people feel inspired."
James Sellar, CEO of Sellar, commended the artwork for capturing the spirit of the development.
"Art and design are firmly embedded in the DNA of Paddington Square, so we're thrilled to unveil Kelly Anna's panoramic artwork, as the first public-facing commission," he said.
"Kelly Anna's energetic and innovative piece perfectly distils the spirit of Paddington Square, a catalyst for pioneering ideas and opportunities."