Blue Carpet is an innovative project which has created a new public square in the city centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.
It was designed and realised by Thomas Heatherwick Studio working in collaboration with a team of the City Council’s design professionals. The ‘blue carpet’ concept unifies the disparate architectural elements of the square and integrates street furniture, a new kind of fibre optic lighting, a new public staircase and mature trees. New materials and new technical solutions for the paving surface and other elements were researched through partnerships formed with manufacturers, craftspeople and academics.
The schedule for the project was lengthy. Regeneration of Newcastle centre was first considered in 1994. The project began in earnest in 1996 with an Ideas Competition. The artist’s initial concept was developed over four years, informed by a pedestrian/traffic count, a public opinion survey and several consultative meetings, as well as technical considerations. Installation on site began in July 2000 and was completed in autumn 2001.