The Henry Moore sculpture… next to the neon takeaway sign

spindle2 (1)I’M no art critic but it seems a good thing that the new square outside King’s Cross station will be blessed with a Henry Moore sculpture. The more you pass by the station, the more you wonder what took them so long to get rid of that tin shed facade and let us see the building in all its majestic glory.

And that’s part of the reason that English Heritage’s ears pricked up when Network Rail and the council discussed the new sculpture, which will be a temporary installation for a couple of years courtesy of the Henry Moore Foundation.

photoBefore planning consent was granted last week, EH said in a letter to the council’s planning department: “Clearly the display of a piece of public art by a world-famous sculptor at King’s Cross station will add to the enjoyment of those that use the newly-created King’s Cross Square. Although English Heritage supports the display of public art, we would also like to voice a note of caution. King’s Cross Square was created to showcase the facade of the Grade I listed station building, which has been partially screened in some form since at least 1870.”

It continues: “The existing trees and bus stops already prevent good views from Euston Road, and despite the artistic and cultural benefits of this sculpture, it will restrict views of the facade further.” It goes on to say that the Henry Moore sculpture should not set a precedent for the space and nor be used as an excuse to allow ‘more prosaic’ street furniture to appear. It actually uses the word ‘kiosk’ in the letter, which is slightly ironic given the neon signs for a Giraffe takeaway now pinned to the shaft structure they could not move when they refurbished the square.

A good ‘ol bit of bright light commercialism for anybody heading towards this beautiful building once the sun has gone down. What say English Heritage to that.


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