The Unilever ‘Campus’ developers are inviting expressions of interest from contemporary artists to create public artworks to be sited on the finished buildings.

Cube Real Estate has launched a competition to select works of art for Unilever’s new Global and UK HQ (Unilever Campus) in Kingston upon Thames. The competition is looking for public art proposals that will enhance this major new development with its mix of retail, office, residential and public spaces.

The competition is open to emerging and established artists and winner(s) will be announced in September 2023. Three potential sites for the new artwork have been identified by the developer, these include.

  • A series of four panels on the ground floor brickwork of St James’ Road Carpark façade
  • The corner of St James Road and Eden Street.
  • The central garden courtyard

One or more artists may be selected, dependent upon the proposals received for the different locations. To encourage applications from new and emerging artists, previous experience of similar public commissions is not required and emerging artists can ask for assistance to support them in developing their proposal.

The final artwork will be reflective of or inspired by the communities, heritage or future of Kingston Upon Thames either in their concept, material or execution. Relevance and suitability of the artist’s work in relation to the town centre and proximity to the riverside and the Ancient Market Place will also be considered.

The winning artist will be selected by a panel drawn from local artists, stakeholders, Unilever and the development team.

The selected artist/s will be commissioned by the developers, who will bear all costs of the commissioning, production and installation of the public art installation. A budget of around £50,000 plus VAT is envisaged. This will be apportioned as a lump sum fee to the artist and separate stage payments through fabrication. The development team will provide any associated foundations, lighting, landscaping etc. as part of the main contract.

There are three potential art locations. Interested artists may express interest in either one, or all of the possible locations. Associated with this, the selecting panel may appoint more then one artist. The selecting panel are interested in all ideas and approaches, and will consider both emerging and experienced artists.

Artwork requirements

The final artwork/s should be reflective/inspired, in their concept, material or execution, in the contemporary communities, heritage or future of Kingston-Upon Thames. Relevance and suitability of the artist’s work in relation to the town centre and proximity to the riverside and the Ancient Market Place will also be considered. The final artwork/s must be robust, durable and capable of withstanding the potential impact, interactions and misuse arising from its public location. The artwork’s construction must meet environmental aspirations, with materials being sustainably sourced.

The selected artist/s must be able to demonstrate the associated knowledge/skills to manage the design planning, production and installation of the artwork/s to the highest standard. Emerging artists, and those with no previous experience of public commissions, are asked to provide a short statement describing any support or assistance they may need to manage the process. For example, the selected artist will be required to produce a method statement, production schedule and risk assessment detailing access requirements and installation process. It is anticipated that block plans/drawings will need submitting as part of the planning requirements for free-standing/suspended installations, along with any ongoing maintenance considerations.

Separately, the artwork design will need to be formally approved by the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames under the planning permission process. This will be managed by the scheme architects (Darling Associates).

Expressions of interest must be provided by 15th July 2023, including no more than 10 images of previous artworks and a brief Biography/CV and website link/social profile/s, if available.

A design response is not required at this stage. Following a review of the expressions of interest, 3-6 shortlisted artists will be invited to develop specific proposals for the site/s for which they will be paid £1000 each.

The selected artist/s will be notified and announced in September 2023. The production and installation of the final artworks must be completed by 30th September 2024.

You can read the full brief, including all technical drawings, here.

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Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Kingston Society