Designing a Charing Cross for & with our community
The Society takes CSR seriously, supporting hundreds of community-based initiatives through our various sponsorship programmes. The redevelopment of Charing Cross offers a unique opportunity to contribute to St. Helier by engaging our local community and celebrating the social and cultural history of the site.
If you don’t already know, you might be interested to learn that the Charing Cross site was a prison from 1693 to 1811; an historic mill once stood just north of Charing Cross, below which ran the town streams. Even today, the historic watercourse known as Le Grand Douet still runs beneath the site. In redeveloping this area, we have an opportunity to pay homage to the past while educating the community and creating opportunities for local artists.
We have engaged Private & Public Ltd, a design collective that provides well researched, community focused, reasonably priced and culturally relevant art works. We love the fact that they work to involve local artists and community members in their projects, applying traditional skills and materials, wherever possible. In the proposals for this project, Private & Public Ltd propose mentoring and training programmes for emerging artists enrolled on the undergraduate Art and Design degree courses at Highlands College.
The artistic design proposals for the site include some exciting elements:
Walking on Water
A contemporary interpretation of Le Grand Douet, re-introducing the waterway along the entire length of Pitt Street from Dumaresq Street to Charing Cross using a combination of LED lighting strips and text which to give the impression of a continual moving stream. The text will be provided by a local poet and will reflect site-specific historical stories. This will re-define the streetscape from a poorly lit and narrow cut through to a sophisticated and enhanced walkway.
Dumaresq Street Gates – A Community Arts Initiative
The second element will be a community arts initiative in which the Society will partner with St. Helier’s primary schools to create a set of vehicular access gates on Dumaresq Street that will incorporate the children’s favourite supermarket products, as drawn by them, into laser cut fretwork, similar to the examples show in the images above.
The two hinged gates will provide a permanent record of the student’s contribution while creating an attractive design statement at street level.
The Reinstatement of the HMV Logo on Dumaresq Street
The third element will be the reinstatement of the HMV image on Dumaresq Street. Both the shareholders and Directors of the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society are keen to see the popular image restored, so a faithful copy of the original will be hand painted onto the building’s exterior. It is intended that a local artist with experience in producing public murals to the high standards required, will reproduce this work.
Overall, these proposals are designed to be thought provoking, unique, imaginative and most importantly, relevant to Jersey. The team at Public and Private Ltd have worked hard to develop a proposal that contributes to the quality of the area at the same time as helping to redefine it.
New developments often view art contribution as an imposition or a burden however, your Society recognises the importance of embracing an opportunity to engage with our talented community to produce something that will leave a cultural legacy for future generations.
I look forward to hearing the views of the wider community on the Art Statement plans outlined above.
We just need that planning permission now!