A Destination Piece In Tech City

A Destination Piece In Tech City


On Thursday, March 5, art and architecture came together at 250 City Road, Berkeley’s landmark development in Islington designed by Foster + Partners, when the first of three striking larger-than-life sculptures by well-known figurative sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley was unveiled.

Entitled ‘Opening the Lockgate’, the art commemorates the site’s heritage alongside part of the Regent’s Canal, which marks its 200th anniversary this year. In its heyday the Regent’s Canal formed one of London’s most important centres for inland freight and made a significant contribution to London’s prosperity. Berkeley commissioned Ian Rank-Broadley to create the series of sculptures to pay tribute to the site’s waterside heritage and the working community that enlivened London’s canals.

Unveiling the sculpture with Ian Rank-Broadley, Brian McKenzie, Operations Director at Berkeley, comments: “At Berkeley, not only do we build homes and places to enjoy living in and visiting – we’re passionate about creating beautiful neighbourhoods that revolve around communities and link the present with the past.  Art and architecture are the perfect complement to each other and these magnificent sculptures by Ian are a wonderful way to keep history alive while giving residents and visitors the pleasure of enjoying world-class art.”

The first installation is a 1.7m sculpture of two dockers opening a lockgate which stands at the entrance to the central plaza at 250 City Road. To be installed next summer (2021) alongside the canal-like waterway in the centre of the plaza, will be a 1.8m high barge woman while the third sculpture, rising to 2m, will be an evocative depiction of a barge horse and canal worker and is due to be installed autumn 2023.

Ian Rank-Broadley explains: “It is my intention as the sculptor to portray the working lives of these people with dignity and create a lasting tribute that acknowledges the contribution they made. Bronze will last a thousand years or more, and so now, can the memory of the canals.”

Creating the sculptures of the two dockers involved meticulous detail; the whole process began with a maquette – a small model made in a soft material perfect for experimenting with shapes and positions. Once the design was right, Ian created an armature - a physical metal skeleton onto which the modelling clay was applied.

When the full-sized piece was finished, the moulding began: a ‘negative’ or reverse sculpture was made with several coats of silicon rubber to pick up every detail. Further coats of harder rubber were subsequently applied before the sculpture was encased in fibre glass. The rubber mould and case was then removed, the clay broken down and recycled and the sculpture then cast in bronze in the foundry.

Not only do the sculptures reconnect people with the history of 250 City Road but they act as wayfinders that guide visitors through the new neighbourhood creating focal points within the communal landscaped grounds.

250 City Road is an eclectic mixed-use development that encompasses residential homes with office, retail and leisure space, together with a new four-star nhow hotel and two acres of Wi-Fi enabled landscaped gardens. Currently available is a collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments in Valencia Tower that start from £880,000 as well as a collection of two and three-bedroom penthouses, including triplexes, priced from £2,900,000. All homes enjoy a range of five-star facilities including a fully equipped spa, fitness studio, business suite, residents’ lounge, private screening room and 24-hour concierge service. For more information call Berkeley on 020 3925 9905 or visit www.250cityroad.co.uk.

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