IMAGE: A deal porter and a mute swan form the centrepiece of the colourful new mural
If you’ve been down Quebec Way recently, you might have noticed the smart timber-fronted building which recently completed. That’s Paper Yard, the brand-new 33,000 sq ft life sciences and innovation building that has just opened its doors, with chemical research and manufacturing business cheMastery as the first of several cutting-edge businesses that will call it home.
When you’re next in the area, it’s worth a wander round to the back of the building, as the entire wall is now covered with an eye-catching mural that has just been completed by agency Global Street Art. The giant artwork celebrates the natural environment and history of Canada Water, helping to tie the state-of-the-art facilities into an area with a rich heritage and adding a bold splash of colour to the evolving townscape.
Global Street Art worked closely with British Land to come up with a community-focused design that tells a narrative of the local area. At the centre of the piece you will see one of the iconic deal porters who epitomised the working Surrey Commercial Docks in their heyday, carrying a huge baulk of wood over his shoulder. He’s being greeted by a magnificent mute swan, a bird that still inhabits the area today. Also depicted is another local bird, the dashingly attired kingfisher, along with various wildflowers that flourish in the vicinity, distinctive local landmark the Rotherhithe Bascule Bridge, and a chicken who lives at the Paper Garden, a place created by Global Generation and British Land to host an impactful programme for our local community.
Chris Dillon, Head of Design at Global Street Art, explained: “The kingfisher came from local birdwatching reports, the chicken is a local legend, and all the flowers and plants were identified from wildlife reports of the local area and the development planting plan.”
The design uses the photo-realistic style in an artistic celebration of some of the things that make Canada Water special. Chris added: “Well-executed, large-scale photoreal painting is something that stops people in their tracks, then whilst stopped, they can explore the story.” The team used a mix of traditional and modern methods to replicate the photoreal images on such a large scale, including “pouncing”, a technique with its roots in the Old Masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci that sees paint pushed through perforations in a template.
Keir Freestone, project director at British Land and Paper Yard project lead, said: "The storied past and teeming natural environment of Canada Water provided rich inspiration that Global Street Art have tapped into to create a fantastic piece of art, and we’re thrilled with how it’s turned out. It's a colourful celebration of some of the things that give the area its identity, and helps tie these cutting-edge business facilities into a sense of place that's steeped in tradition."
The mural will form a backdrop to the park and pavilion being constructed on the former Printworks site adjacent. With Paper Yard’s neighbours including environment charity Global Generation, who host environmental education programmes in the Paper Garden, and TEDI- London offering students the chance to explore career paths in engineering and design, this little corner of Canada Water is bringing together art, science, nature and community as it celebrates the area’s past and looks to its future.
Check out this reel which gives us a behind-the-scenes snapshot into the process of painting the mural over the last few weeks.