All Paths Lead To Foyles by Rebecca Hendin

Something quite fascinating happened on Wednesday. The old Central Saint Martins building, with hallways pounded by some of the UKs most famous creatives including Sir Terence Conran, Sir James Dyson, Alan Fletcher, Eric Gill, Bill Moggridge, Katharine Hamnett, Gilbert and George, Antony Gormley and even Pulp’s frontman Jarvis Cocker, underwent a transformation as the start of a new journey for the building to begin a new life as thirteen luxury apartments and a brand-new Foyles bookstore.

To ring in the new change, the building was covered in a large banner wrap to conceal the building work from the street whilst they nip and tuck the inside of the building in to a glamorous affair to be filled with some of Soho’s most expensive apartments.

'All-Paths-Lead-to-Foyles'-by-Rebecca-Hendin-commissioned-by-Saint-Martins-Lofts-&-Foyles_photography-Frantzesco-Kangaris_©-Steve-Speller
© Steve Speller

A giant new artwork by young illustrator Rebecca Hendin was hoisted (good word) onto the front of the former Central Saint Martins building on Charing Cross Road. Jointly commissioned by new owners, Foyles and Saint Martins Lofts, the artwork, entitled ‘All Paths Lead to Foyles’, celebrates the building’s ongoing status as a cultural landmark at the centre of a London’s historic music and bookselling district.

“I decided to create a surreal London cityscape, composed of London-like buildings and including a smattering of its landmarks, as well as flowers, oversized animals, trees, musical instruments, vehicles, teacups, bottles, ships, the river, the Underground, and more.”
Rebecca Hendin

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The artwork – Hendin’s first in the public realm – will be on display until September 2013, with the building open for business in April 2014. The building might have been empty for some time now, but I do love the history of the building and, in particular, the great names of people that got some of their early inspirations whilst walking around it. If I had the cash for an apartment then I could be tempted… but I don’t.

Hendin’s artwork was selected as the winning design in a competition curated by cultural placemaking agency Futurecity. Ten recent graduates from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design were selected to develop artwork proposals that would celebrate the character of both Central Saint Martins and Foyles, exploring the status of the two buildings as cultural icons and bringing their heritage to life.

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In a collage reminiscent of Heinz Edelmann’s hallucinogenic design for the 1968 animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine, Hendin’s illustration sees a collection of exotic, knowledgeable creatures infiltrating the city, above and below ground.

Drawing inspiration from the evolution of Charing Cross Road, Hendin captures “the Lego-like build-over-build-over-build quality of the London cityscape” and the ephemeral, energetic spirit of the capital: “there is not one thing that makes London what it is; rather, there are a huge number of pieces that, when joined together, make one very interesting, and complete, puzzle”.

I certainly like it and will always look up whilst walking along Charing Cross Road whilst it remains in place.

Daniel

Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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