The Cass students add sparkle to Christmas illuminations
Staff and students braved the rain on Monday afternoon to celebrate the switching on of London Met’s new Christmas lights – and the unveiling of some amazing artwork.
The courtyard, at Holloway campus, has been transformed by a beautiful festive display, complete with glowing reindeers and shining snowmen. But it isn’t just the lights that are brightening up the courtyard; three fantastic pieces of art have been installed as part of London Met’s creative competition, MetArtMorphosis.
Students were asked to submit designs for permanent art installations for the social space, and the winning pieces were officially unveiled at the ceremony. The winning artwork was Patty Leo’s ‘International Memories Pavilion.
The bamboo pavilion aims to offer a place of tranquillity and contemplation where people can share their memories of home. The frame is designed to enable people to hang trinkets that capture a certain memory, meaning the structure will continue to transform over time.
Patty, who studies Architecture in London Met’s Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, said: “Three years ago I was working on a project in India, in the slums of Agra. It was really hard work, but it was an amazing experience and I learnt so much – including a lot about bamboo!
“While I was there, I came across a little place of tranquillity near the Taj Mahal. This gave me the idea of creating something where people can take time from their hectic day to relax, contemplate and think of home.”
The other installations unveiled in the Courtyard were Collect, Reflect, Renew by Emma Warburton and Blue Sky Thinking by Anastasia Ridley and Lucy Irvine.
Emma, who studies MA Curating the Contemporary at The Cass, said: “I was tipped off about the competition by a friend, and I liked the idea of responding to the ideas of sustainability and community.”
Collect, Reflect, Renew (pictured) is a colourful obelisk covered with a tile-and-mirror mosaic.
“Lots of people were involved in making the structure,” Emma added. “Topps Tiles donated the tiles, and I invited lots of people to decorate them in any way they liked before assembling the final piece. It’s all about community; the only way this could be created was by meeting and collaborating with people."
“It was a great experience and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”
Blue Sky Thinking features a series of cogs on bespoke poles, which actually rotate. The piece was inspired by the thoughts of hundreds of students and staff who walk through the Courtyard each day.
“It is inspired by people, it alludes to the cogs in the brain,” Lucy and Anastasia, both Architecture students in The Cass, said. “We would like to thank the University for making this happen, and to everyone who has come to support us today.”
All the artists received certificates from the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Raftery, who said: “This is a fabulous project and the installations highlight the quality of the students we have at London Met. The three works capture what we do as a University; think, reflect and work together as a community. Well done to everyone involved in this amazing work.”
The occasion was made all the more festive by mulled wine and mince pies, a fitting way to turn on London Met’s Christmas lights.
Jim Quinn, Building Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager at London Met, played a leading role in the illuminations, as well as helping to build and install the artwork. He said: “This is all part of our efforts to improve the school's facilities for students and staff. Twenty years’ ago, the Courtyard was a vacant lot between two buildings. Today, it is a well-used social space.
“I’m delighted with the outcome of the MetArtMorphosis competition. The installations are fantastic and working with the students was a really rewarding experience. I hope we have enhanced their learning experience at London Met.”
“The Christmas display is about bringing some extra fun and Christmas cheer to the Courtyard. We just want to make people smile.”
MetArtMorphosis was the brainchild of Rachel Ward, Estates Sustainability Manager, who was one of the judges of the competition.
“We were approached by a student who asked if they could contribute a piece of art to the courtyard, and the idea snowballed from there,” said Rachel. “We do a lot of work with students as a department, and this was another way of contributing to their learning experience.
“We’re delighted with the final results and hope that they will be enjoyed by students and staff for many years to come.”
The International Memories Pavilion is already attracting interest, with early reports of a leprechaun and Loch Ness monster at the scene.