gainst the inescapable local upheaval of the HS2 railway development, creative plans for what will soon be known as the Euston Green Link are nevertheless flourishing. The idea – to create a walking and cycling route leading from the train station to Regent’s Park punctuated with thought-provoking art – now has a unique sculpture commissioned to be its centrepiece.
‘Breathe’ is proposed to be installed above the doorway of Camden People’s Theatre on the corner of Drummond Street. In collaboration with the theatre, the Euston Town business partnership want this sculpture to be the catalyst for a series of meaningful workshops with the local community and particularly schools, discussing London’s air quality crisis and some inspiring, powerful solutions.
It’s the work of physicist-artist Jasmine Pradissitto (pictured, right), an intriguing fusion of science and art, inspired by the statues she used to sketch in her lunch hour, when studying for her PhD at UCL. “It was the paradox – so inherent to my physics research – of transparent fabrics and soft, malleable flesh recreated in the most unyielding of stone, which always really appealed to me,” she says.Now bringing things deftly full circle, her sculpture will reflect the solidity of that stone in a flowing new form, using a patented sustainably-sourced geopolymer made by materials specialists Alsitek. Not only does this environmentally-friendly fabric product mimic those solid Greek and Roman marbles beautifully, it has the amazing secondary ability to absorb nitrogen oxide pollution from the air around it.
NoXtek, as the material is known, can capture up to 15% of airborne N0x gasses by weight, making a small but significant dent in local levels of one of the most harmful of the pollutants we’re currently all subjected to breathing. But its impact in raising awareness of today’s unacceptable levels of noxious air contamination goes much further when crafted into a striking public art commission, too.
The piece would tick multiple boxes for the Euston Green Link, the perfect marriage of form and function that sparks vital conversation about pollution, whilst offering an uplifting message of hope and pragmatism. Who knows, one day this material could be seen all over our city, cleaning the air we breathe.
Look out for workshops and talks about the proposal. We can only begin to wonder what those proud Greeks and Romans immortalised around the corner would make of it all.
Main image: Jasmine Pradissitto by Marine