London Met project named winner of Norfolk Art Trail

The public artwork, Iron Reef, was developed by Cristina Morbi of Maetherea Studio and her team. It will be installed at the historical site of Reedham Ferry.

Date: 8 June 2022

A project from London Met lecturer Cristina Morbi (Maetherea Studio) and her team, Aurora Destro and Cristina Brena, has won the public vote as part of the Norfolk Art Trail. It will now be installed as a permanent public artwork at the historical site of Reedham Ferry.

Entitled Iron Reef, the project is one of four winners, which will be installed across Norfolk, from a shortlist of 15. The artwork sites were chosen in consultation with the local community, with the public invited to pick their favourites on a website.

A representative of the Norfolk Art Trail spoke highly of the project, saying “This ambitious concept gained a lot of attention for its forward-thinking and innovative structure, which provides a new way of viewing a much-loved site whilst blending seamlessly with its surroundings.”

The other selected concepts are:

  • Flock, concept by ToyStudio (Toby Plunkett) for Diss Mere; 
  • Honing Passage, concept by Studio Sabine (Sabine Marcelis & Guillaume Morillon) for Honing Station, near the Dilham Canal;
  • and Plain Sight, concept by Studio Squash LTD (Matt Wreglesworth & Richard Morison) for Boal Quay, Kings Lynn.

Morbi and Destro explained, “The current location of the Iron Reef is inspired by the anthropized amphibious landscape. As an Amphibious structure, it can live on both earth and water. Shaped by the winter tides and emerging as a landmark between the reeds, it connects the sky and touches the water. 

“Currently, the site the Iron Reef will sit on is an alluvial land. We hope this installation will enhance the relationship with the site, raising above the reeds for a different perception of the already beautiful landscape surrounding the area. People are invited to follow the light metallic structures, which rhythm the gentle ramp and lead to a raised point of view of the landscape surrounding. The lower promenade will host a seating area for people to admire the Broads and the historical Chain Ferry.”

"The tides from the river modify the material, adding patina and oxidation as a performance of colour or a maritime ruin. Plants and microorganisms start to appear on the structure. All around the structure, the iconic reeds will rewild the area, surrounding the structure through time.

Thanks to the symbiosis that is created between the reeds and the structure, the project explores the natural phenomena of the landscape. Plants offer a multisensorial and seasonal experience in the artwork: reeds are soft green in the warm months, and golden in the cold season. Feather-like flowers are purple and silver. “

"Our hope is for the Iron Reef to be a community and an environmental machine: changing through time, shaped by water, plants, animals and humans."

The Norfolk Art Trail offered an exciting, outdoor public art trail spanning 250 miles of Norfolk, England. Proposals were invited from artists to respond to locations along the Norfolk Way Trail and to design multi-sensory, accessible public artworks to engage local communities, reveal hidden stories and inspire visitors to explore the county. The Project is part of the wider EU EXPERIENCE. EXPERIENCE is a €23 million project to attract visitors in the off-peak season through an innovative ‘experiential tourism’ approach. A high emphasis was placed on accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability in selecting the four artworks.