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Iconic Artwork Lights Up Brent Cross

January 19, 2023

A giant, dazzling new artwork has been revealed at Brent Cross Town today (19 January) and it’s not just brightening the area but will be powering it too.

The 21-metre-high and 52-metre-long permanent public artwork called Here we come, here we rise has been created by London-based artist, Lakwena in collaboration with architects, IF_DO.

See drone footage of the substation here.

The artwork, in Lakwena’s signature technicolour features an inspirational message Here we come, Here we rise and shine which reflects the ambition for Brent Cross Town to bring people together in the local community.  It wraps around a new sustainable electrical substation which, in future, will power Brent Cross Town, the £8bn development at the heart of the ambitious Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration programme.

The artwork sits next to London’s A406 North Circular, at the busy junction with the M1 motorway, and next to the new Brent Cross West station, which is due to open this year.  The vibrant colour scheme and scale of the artwork, which at its highest point is taller than the Angel of the North, creates a new local landmark in Barnet with an estimated six million people each year expected to see it from road and rail.

Lakwena, the artist, said: “The key pledges of the Brent Cross Town development highlight a commitment to play, inclusivity, sustainability, and connectivity. All of these themes are expressed through a messaging approach which alludes to movement, togetherness, ambition and a sense of newness.”

Watch Lakwena explain the story behind the artwork here.

Brent Cross Town, which is being delivered in partnership by Barnet Council and Related Argent, is being designed to be a net zero carbon development by 2030, and investment in efficient new infrastructure is a key part of this.

The substation will supply electricity to all of Brent Cross Town, including the 6,700 new homes, 3 million sq ft of offices and new retail and leisure spaces, as well as to the low-carbon district heating and cooling networks operated by Swedish energy company Vattenfall. Brent Cross Town will source all electricity supplies within its control from 100% renewables sources.

During construction of the substation, engineers Arup also focused on minimising the environmental impact of the structure, using structural steel salvaged from unused oil pipelines reducing the amount of carbon released by over 40%. The concrete used is a combination of low cement concrete and new cement-free ‘Earth Friendly Concrete.’

The project has also brought back to life a piece of ex-industrial land with the creation of a newly landscaped embankment designed by Gillespies Landscape Architects. It has been planted with trees and a wildflower meadow to increase biodiversity and enhance local wildlife corridors.

Councillor Barry Rawlings, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “We are investing in public art across Barnet because we recognise the potential to improve the wellbeing of our people and its positive role in building a sense of place. Not only will this iconic large-scale artwork put Brent Cross Town on the map, but it also showcases a talented London artist, and wraps an important piece of sustainable infrastructure that is key to meeting Brent Cross Town’s aspirations to achieve net zero Carbon by 2030 – this really is green innovation and creativity at its best.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added: “Lakwena has created an incredible artwork that brings together creativity and sustainability and will be enjoyed by millions of people. London is a world class cultural capital and this major addition to our public realm in the heart of Brent Cross is another example of how we’re working together to build a better London for everyone.”

This week Barnet Council, who is leading the transformation of the area, also launched its BarNET ZERO sustainability campaign to raise awareness of the climate emergency and how we can all do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. You can view the campaign video here.

Barnet Council’s arts team is also in the process of co-producing an ambitious, and fun Culture Strategy that puts Barnet on the map and celebrates its creativity, heritage, and community. Find out more and get involved.

Find out more about sustainability across Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration programme.