Art installations vary wildly, but the mark of a great artistic centrepiece is its ability transform the space it’s in.
Not only can these pieces be remarkably beautiful, they’re often also extraordinary works of engineering, and frequently free to visit!
London is home to some of the world’s most exceptional artwork, but you won’t find all of it in galleries! I’ve compiled a list of installations for you to check out next time you venture into the city.
Traffic Light Tree – Pierre Vivant
Located in Poplar, this 26ft installation is made up of 75 sets of traffic lights, shaped to look like a tree.
The installation originally confused some motorists when it first appeared on a Limehouse roundabout, but it soon became a popular attraction, even being voted Britain’s best roundabout.
The Traffic Light Tree has since been moved to a new home near Billingsgate Market and is an excellent one to go and visit in an evening!
Bleigiessen – Thomas Heatherwick
Perhaps best known for his (now tragically removed due to potential safety hazards) B of the Bang in Manchester, or his superb Vessel staircase structure New York City, in 2002 Thomas Heatherwick crafted Bleigiessen for Wellcome Trust.
This stunning invention is made up of 142,000 glass spheres and suspended in the atrium of the Trust’s HQ by more than 20,000 steel wires provided by Ormiston Wire.
Check out this magnificent installation the next time you’re in Euston!
A Bullet from a Shooting Star – Alex Chinneck
This upside-down electricity pylon in Greenwich is made from 466 pieces of steel and weights 15 tonne. A remarkable work of engineering, Chinneck’s sculpture evokes the industrial history of its location.
Another one that makes excellent viewing at night, as when illuminated it’s a masterpiece of lattice light!
ArcelorMittal Orbit – Anish Kapoor
This famous observation tower in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a must visit.
Constructed as a legacy of 2012 Olympic Games, the observation decks provide excellent views of the Olympic Park.
Artist, Anish Kapoor, has stated that he wanted to build the impossible and was inspired by the Tower of Babel.
Orbit is of course an impressive structure in its own right, but we think it was only improved by the useable slide that was added by German artist Carsten Höller!
Walala Parade – Camille Walala
Completed in the summer of 2020, the Walala Parade is the newest of the five locations on our list. Funded by the public, who voted on the final design, Camille Walalahas transformed the dreary Leyton High Road into an array of spectacular colour.
Turning what were once greying shop facades with her signature bright colours and geometric shapes, Walalahas said that she sought to make art accessible to the community that it serves.
Make use of one of these sunny afternoons we’ve been having and take a stroll along this remarkable street!
What are your favourite London artworks? Let me know in the comments below!