Martin Richman creates “One Whirl” for Olympic Park bridge and underpass
Central Saint Martins BA (Honours) Fine Art alumnus Martin Richman won a competition organised by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to incorporate an art commission into one of the new bridges and underpasses being built on the Olympic Park.
Martin was one of the two winners of the competition, which attracted interest from 250 artists, designers and architects from the UK and abroad when it was launched in summer 2008.
The “One Whirl” bridge and underpass, part of London 2012 “Art in the Park” realisations, will be complete in spring 2011.
Hackney based artist Martin Richman studied painting at Central Saint Martins from 1988 to 1991, after a career as a lighting designer in the music industry, where he worked with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Mike Oldfield and Pink-Floyd.
Spirals are a recurrent feature in his creative work. He says that whirls are “life forms” that “pile up” and “interconnect”, they are a symbol of the energy of the world we live in and the creatures that inhabit it, a symbol of “life force”.
Martin is more famous for artworks that illuminate public spaces though, in particular the Tyseley permanent installation in Birmingham that features an external manifestation of the energy produced within the waste recycling plant (RSA Art in Architecture award).
“What unifies his work is his empathetic understanding of how to enhance our experience of the space that we occupy”, says his agent Dominic Berning.
A book documenting his contribution to the Tyseley project is available at Chelsea and CSM libraries, see the UAL Library Catalogue here.
Martin acquired the practical skill to integrate an art commission into the structures of a bridge by contributing to such projects in collaboration with architects, engineers, fabricators and lighting advisors.
“One Whirl”, the name Martin Richman gave to his artwork, refers to “one world” and was inspired by the energy of the Games.
Martin says: “My interest lies partly in spatial perception and I wanted to combine my own concerns with imagery that could express the energy and vitality of, not only the games themselves, but also the area and the endeavour to create a park and new opportunities from the detritus of former industrial practices.
The materials I have proposed are responsive to shifts in nuances of light and are all recycled, providing an ecologically sound, visual engagement integrated into the superstructure of the park enriching the perception of place for the legacy of future users.”
Martin Richman’s design will be seen on one of the bridges near the Velodrome and on the walls and ceiling of an underpass that will allow pedestrians to walk under the A12 road.
Art in the Park
Art in the Park is a project managed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the public body responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Games and their use after 2012, in particular the Olympic Park.
In an “Art in the Park” publication released in November the ODA say:
“The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games project has incorporated arts and culture initiatives into the heart of the Olympic Park right from the start, creating an international benchmark for future Games.
… A diverse range of projects have been developed over the last two years. These range from bridges and underpasses designed by artists, to security fences, planting schemes, large-scale facades, as well as artist-led community projects in the five Host Boroughs (Greenwich, Hackney, Newham,Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets). These projects demonstrate the ingenuity and imagination that artists have brought to the look and feel of the Park.
By integrating arts and culture into the public spaces around the Park, our aim is to achieve a unique area that will give existing local communities a sense of ownership, attract new businesses, create an area where new communities will want to live, as well as make East London a world-class visitor destination.”
Martin Richman – additional information
Martin Richman is also a member of the Light London working group, which informs the city’s lighting design policies.
Are you particularly interested in the utilisation of light in architecture and space design? Watch Martin’s 20mn talk at the Open-City conference “The Liveable City”, March 2010, illustrated with photographs of his artwork.
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010