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A steel-framed iconic public artwork that surrounds an electrical substation in north London has been unveiled.

Located adjacent to the busy A406 North Circular at the junction with the M1 motorway, a 21m-high and 52m-long permanent artwork has been unveiled as part of the Brent Cross Town urban regeneration project.

Created by artist Lakwena and architects IF_DO, the steel-framed artwork that incorporates a colourful façade, wraps around an electrical substation creating a new landmark for north London. It is estimated that some six million people each year will see it from the road and the nearby rail links.

Brent Cross Town, which is being delivered in partnership by Related Argent and Barnet Council, 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, offices and new retail and leisure spaces, as well as to the low-carbon district heating/cooling networks.

The artwork is formed with a series of CHS columns, up to 21m in length that are linked by box section members, the steel frame supports digitally-printed lenticular aluminium panels that create a kaleidoscopic visual effect to emphasis the idea of movement as viewers move around the structure.

The steel erection programme had to be meticulously planned as the site is very constrained and sits between a busy road and one of the main railway lines serving central London.

Bourne Rail & Special Projects Divisional Director Craig Galway, says: “It took five weeks to erect the steel frame and then a further nine weeks to install the panels. Each panel is connected to the frame via bracketry. They measure 500mm x 4.5m and because of the colour sequence each one is unique.”

The design team drew on influences as varied as Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies and historic forms of roadside structures, such as billboards, funfairs and industrial sites that make use of a skeletal frame supporting a brightly coloured skin.