Blue Carpet by Thomas Heatherwick


Blue Carpet is a work by Thomas Heatherwick, located next to the Laing Art Gallery, off John Dobson Street in Newcastle. It was commissioned by Newcastle City Council and the "carpet", completed in 2001, forms a public open space. The "carpet" is formed with tiles made of blue glass in resin laid across the square and ‘riding up’ against the gallery and bollards.[1] The area, part of New Bridge Street West, is restricted to pedestrians.

The Blue Carpet is a piece of Public Art in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, designed by Thomas Heatherwick. It is an area of public open space in front of the Laing Art Gallery, close to the main shopping and nightclub areas, paved with glass-and-resin slabs which curve up at the space's edges, giving the appearance of a fabric carpet. Although classified as a piece of public art, it is closer to an urban design feature.

Artwork

The square has been covered in a skin of blue paving slabs, made by mixing crushed blue glass with white resin. At the points where this skin reaches a building the slabs curve upwards to create the sensation that the tiles are a fabric laid over the area. There are a number of benches that appear to fold up from the carpet surface, and beneath the benches are sunken glass-topped boxes that hold coloured lights. At the eastern end an existing staircase, leading to an elevated walkway, was replaced with a new one, featuring a curving skin of wood ribbons, constructed by a local boatbuilder.

Setting

Completed in 2001, the piece took six years to realise. The total budget for the space was £1.4m. The work was partially funded by the Arts Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. Following the success of Anthony Gormley's Angel of the North in nearby Gateshead, Newcastle and other neighbouring authorities were keen to invest in other high profile public art commissions. Heatherwick's design provided was an integral part of a project to improve the streetscape and context of the Laing Art Gallery, which was left marooned following the demolition of the old Victorian library in the 1960s, with a blank brick wall facing towards the city centre.

The Blue Carpet was intended to complement the existing buildings and give the city a contemporary icon. Unfortunately, the first batch of tiles delivered were green rather than blue and the whole project was set back several months. When finally unveiled it was remarked that the carpet was much paler in colour than was expected from Heatherwick's original visualisations.

Current status

The Blue Carpet has become the subject of some local debate, as parts of it are used as ramps by skateboarders. The tiles have also rapidly faded to a blue-grey colour, a fact that is made more obvious when damaged tiles are replaced with those of the original colour. The upturned benches have also become a regular target for vandals and are often fenced off while awaiting repair. The area was also damaged by an arson attack in 2001 which cost £10,000 to repair.

In 2011 Martin Callanan, a Conservative MEP said that he did not consider the installation to be well thought out or cost effective, and suggested that it should be replaced by more conventional paving stones. Newcastle City Council director of strategic housing Harvey Emms stated that there were no plans to scrap the piece which is well maintained.

Text from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (accessed: 01/11/2018).
Visit the page: Blue Carpet for references and further details. You can contribute to this article on Wikipedia.

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The Blue Carpet

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Blue Carpet Square, Newcastle, April 2009

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Blue Carpet Square, Newcastle, April 2009 (2)

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badly laid

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The blue carpet

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torn carpet

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New Bridge Street and Blue Carpet Square

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(Part of) Blue Carpet Square

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Bollards, 'Blue Carpet Square'

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Laing Art Gallery
  Co-Curate Page
Laing Art Gallery
- Overview About the Laing Map Street View The gallery is free to enter and is located on a pedestrianised section of New Bridge Street by its junction with John Dobson ...
John Dobson Street
  Co-Curate Page
John Dobson Street
- John Dobson Street was opened on 6th May 1970, and at that time was the first new major street in Newcastle city centre for over 100 years. The street is ...
from https://www.newcastle.gov.u...
Public Art - Newcastle City Council
- "Public art is used by the City Council to create and revitalise public spaces, to improve the environment and to enhance new developments. It is also an important and creative ...

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Blue Carpet Staircase
  Co-Curate Page
Blue Carpet Staircase
- Overview Map Street View The Staircase (2001) was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, and is located at the eastern end of the Blue Carpet on New Bridge Street West in Newcastle. It ...

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