Brent Cross Town’s New Landmark

If you’ve been anywhere near the Brent Cross interchange in the last few weeks, you may have noticed something different beginning to rise above the elevated roads...

Unveiled last month, a new public artwork has appeared called ‘Here we come, here we rise’, created by celebrated artist Lakwena in collaboration with architects IF_DO and commissioned by Brent Cross Town.

Conceived to ‘wrap’ Brent Cross Town’s new electricity substation, the structure is 52m long and at 21m tall at its highest point. The substation sits next to the busy junction between London’s North Circular Road and the M1 motorway and adjacent to both the Thameslink railway station that connects the home counties north of London to the city and the new Brent Cross West station, which is due to open this year. It’s estimated that some 6 million people will see it every year from road and rail alone.

Born in North London, Lakwena is known for joyfully colourful artworks that use text to subtly question prevailing mythologies, and reassign value and glory. The huge, inspirational statement on the artwork ‘Here we come, Here we rise and shine’ reflects the ambition to inspire and bring people together in the new community of Brent Cross Town.

Working closely with Lakwena, IF_DO created a unique structure and facade design to complement the scale and vibrancy of the new town. Four undulating horizontal bands, together with triangular-shaped ‘lenticular’ panels that have each of their outward-facing surfaces treated with a different colour, create a kaleidoscopic visual effect which gives the idea of movement as viewers move around the building – which most of the people who see the building will be doing as they travel past.

Lakwena and IF_DO drew on influences as varied as Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies and historic forms of roadside structures like billboards, funfairs and industrial sites that make use of a skeletal frame supporting a brightly coloured skin.

The project has also brought the ex-industrial brownfield land on which it was created back to life. Newly planted trees and wildflowers provide a natural setting for the work and increase site biodiversity, which ties in with Brent Cross Town’s focus on green infrastructure.

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