A contemporary interpretation of the long-lost Rose Window at the Old St Paul’s Cathedral has been announced as the winning design for the third edition of the ‘St Paul’s Plinth’ competition, organised by the LFA and Cheapside Business Alliance. Designed by Nick Tyrer and Umut Baykan, ‘Rose’ makes use of the existing frame structure outside St Paul’s tube station as a platform for a new intervention that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people in the City when installed as part of the 2020 London Festival of Architecture.
As the LFA celebrates its theme of ‘power’ for 2020, ‘Rose’ offers a joyful and uplifting reminder for passers-by of their place in London’s shifting and powerful history, drawing upon the Old St Paul’s Cathedral – destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 – and bringing one of its most beautiful elements back to life through a contemporary interpretation.
The mesmerising installation draws upon the patterning of the original rose window to create a bold geometric arrangement with a series of recycled acrylic panels coated in innovative dichroic film. Suspended above the pavement, the dichroic film reflects and refracts light across a dramatic spectrum of bright hues, bathing the visitors and passers-by beneath in a kaleidoscopic shadow of colours. Reminiscent of stained-glass, the colours change before visitor’s eyes depending on the viewing angle and time of day, creating an inspiring and shareable experience to admire and be immersed within.
Now an annual commission, this year’s edition of the competition follows the immense success of the St Paul’s Plinth project over the past two years. Launched for the first time in 2018 with ScottWhitbyStudio and Arup’s impressive ‘St Paul’s Gateway’ installation, the project continues to build upon this structure with new work, including KHBT and Ottmar Hörl’s LFA2019 installation, ‘Lunch Break’ which saw 35 gilded angels suspended above the City.
The design team are now developing their design – working with fabricators, Raskl – ahead of installation in time for the London Festival of Architecture 2020. As part this, Nick and Umut are currently in the process of securing a sustainable legacy for this project, which will be revealed alongside the installation this June.
The winning collaborators overcame competition from a field of 22 entries, and impressed the judging panel, comprising:
- Alex Scott-Whitby (director, ScottWhitbyStudio)
- George Kyriacon (co-founder, Pella Real Estate Partners)
- Marc Easton (Senior Structural Engineer, Arup)
- Maria Curro (project manager, Department of the Built Environment, City of London Corporation)
- Richard Coles (former Communard, co-presenter of BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live and Vicar of Finedon)
- Ruth Duston OBE (executive director, Cheapside Business Alliance)
- Sarah Jane Enson (senior project manager, Public Realm Team, City of London Corporation)
- Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)
Nick Tyrer, said:
“We are thrilled to be able to share our vision for St Paul’s, a playful nod to the site’s forgotten history. Rose is inspired by the much-celebrated stained-glass window of Old St Paul’s Cathedral, that was lost to the Great Fire of London. We hope Rose will offer a little joy and colour to the community of Cheapside.”
Tamsie Thomson, director of the LFA, said:
“At the London Festival of Architecture, we thrive on the opportunity to offer the public an exciting new perspective on our built environment, championing our industry’s exceptional creative talent to make a positive difference to our public realm.
I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Rose’ do just that, as it celebrates and showcases the power of design to re-engage and immerse residents, workers and tourists in London’s incredible history. We’re thrilled to be working alongside Nick, Umut and Cheapside Business Alliance to bring this joyful new artwork – and with it, a glimpse of Old St Paul’s Cathedral – to life this June, and are excited to see ‘Rose’ transform such a prominent City location with an unforgettable visitor experience.”
Claire Dumontier-Marriage, BID Manager of Cheapside Business Alliance, said:
“We are excited to see the St Paul’s Plinth competition return to one of Cheapside’s most prominent locations during this year’s LFA and are delighted to be supporting the competition in its third year.
The new ‘Rose’ installation will not only transform and brighten people’s experience as they move through the area, but also celebrate and draw important connections to our district’s rich heritage, opening this up for our thousands of visitors to enjoy. As we strive to showcase Cheapside as a world class destination for leisure, culture and art, we look forward to this colourful design becoming a joyful addition to our public realm this summer.”
Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, said:
“The City Corporation planning teams are always considering how to combine the old with the new, and the winning design for this year’s St Paul’s Plinth competition embodies that challenge. The contemporary installation, ‘Rose,’ modernises and renews an existing frame structure to pay tribute to the City’s rich heritage as it draws upon the lost rose window of Old St Paul’s Cathedral. We look forward to this immersive design enhancing this busy part of the City during the 2020 Festival of Architecture.”