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Search for artists puts Gloucester’s Kings Square in the spotlight

Published
14.03.2019

Artists are invited to submit design ideas to help transform Gloucester’s Kings Square as part of multi-million pound proposals to regenerate the area.

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Gloucester City Council has issued two tenders to search for artists. One is for the design of a new space around the edge of the square and the other seeks ideas for the creation of an exciting new approach to lighting the Square - designed to delight, inspire residents and visitors alike, creating a sense of place and community.

During the consultation with the community on plans for Kings Square and the overall Kings Quarter regeneration, many residents and businesses stated they would like to see the area used for live art and performances, as well as a focal point to complement the improved retail and leisure space.

Councillor Lise Noakes, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Gloucester City Council, said: “This is a huge opportunity for artists to showcase their designs to create a new identity for Kings Square and put it in the spotlight.

“What makes this approach unique is that we are not looking for artists to produce a standalone sculpture. We want them to create a new design, unique to Gloucester and its history, which will be embedded into the actual fabric of the square, alongside different uses of lighting. It’s a fantastic opportunity and we are looking forward to seeing some outstanding creative ideas – and ones that may involve the city’s creative community.”

The Kings Quarter Art Commissioning panel, made up of council officers and politicians, the project manager of Gingko Projects and other key figures from local cultural and community organisations, will guide the two art commissions.

This first element will seek designs for a work along the two sides of the square that will also provide seating, tree surrounds and spaces for climbing and playing.

The second requires striking lighting design that will bring to life and reshape Kings Square at night, focussing on activity within the square. This should be able to change and transform the look of the square depending on its use, such as during festival celebrations, events or lighting that changes with the seasons.  

Art work and lighting designs will also need to fit around the reinstated fountains, which will include arcs of water, coloured lighting and mist effects, inspired by the River Severn with different computer-controlled jet patterns.

The project is open to artists from across the UK and beyond, but it is hoped that local artists will put forward their ideas, with the possibility of project-led ideas involving the city’s creative communities. The panel will select the artists in April and their winning designs approved in May 2019. They will work closely throughout the process with the design team and landscape architects Novell Tullett and AECOM, the mechanical and electrical engineering consultants. 

Funding for the transformation of the square has recently been approved by Gloucester City Council. This is part of the overall Kings Quarter redevelopment project which has been submitted for planning permission by Gloucester City Council. If successful, it will see a more modern development, including 150 homes, 40,000 sq ft of office space and a new multi-storey car park.

Last month, work to regenerate the city began with the demolition of the former bus station and part of Grosvenor House on Market Parade, alongside archaeological work to potentially discover the missing Whitefriars monastery.

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