Tadao Ando (with Blair Associates) (2011)
At a bend in the road, where Mount Street meets Carlos Place outside the Connaught Hotel in London, is an extremely understated work by Tadao Ando – a water feature called ‘Silence’. From a distance it might look like an elevated elliptical planter bed but on closer inspection water can be seen inside the stone clad ellipse, slowly flowing down over the granite sides. Two trees sit within the water feature with metal grilles around their base. Every few minutes a mist rises up out of those grilles creating an additional feature within this sculptural piece, while circular glass LED lights under the water also provide evening light shows.
‘Silence’ was jointly commissioned by Grosvenor Estates and the Connaught Hotel, and completed in 2011 as part of the first phase of road and neighbourhood improvements in the Mayfair area undertaken in partnership with Westminster City Council.
Councillor Colin Barrow, Leader of Westminster City Council, stated that: ‘We are delighted with the works which will bring huge improvements to this historic part of the capital. Our innovative finance agreement means significant enhancements to local streets, roads and open spaces, with the council’s initial investment being reimbursed by the land owners, who will also benefit from a boost in the value of the area in the long term. It is particularly poignant that the fountain outside the Connaught Hotel bears a memorial to Sir Simon Milton, who as Leader of the council did so much to pioneer the joint working between the private and public sector that has brought such improvements to the city.’
This is an impressive approach to the improvement of urban public space.
Architect: Tadao Ando
Photographer: Stephen Varady
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