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Glorious Beauty: Simon Hitchens

Date uploaded: September 30, 2014

A large public realm sculpture by Simon Hitchens has been unveiled as part of a £2bn regeneration project for Warwick Road, Kensington, London. The unveiling of Glorious Beauty marks a milestone in St Edward’s development of 375 Kensington High Street.

Glorious Beauty is a playful arrangement of natural forms in an urban environment.  A man made celebration of nature’s beauty that echoes a piece of the natural world and represents innovation, technology and a fast changing world.

The solidity of a large glacial boulder sitting in the urban world has a reassuring permanence to it.  Weightlessly balanced on top of the stone boulder is a mirrored copy of the boulder’s form in stainless steel - exact in size and every intricate detail. Simon has digitally scanned the boulder and flipped its form to create a mirror image.  Standing almost as tall as a double decker bus.

The surface of Glorious Beauty gives the impression of an endless state of flux, due to the ever-changing distorted reflections in it as people pass by. Also reflected, is the design of the grid-like façade of the buildings at 375 Kensington High Street.

Hitchens employs ‘reflection’ in the dual sense of the word – as both a physical mirroring of one form in another and as a thought process. He does this by using polished surfaces in stone, and by reflecting one medium in another, and in this case, the reflection of a boulder in its highly polished stainless steel likeness.

As part of a local development framework to transform the Kensington High Street streetscape, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea identified a need to transform the brownfield land stretching from the High Street along Warwick Road. Transforming this area of the High Street, the 375 Kensington High Street development is replacing a collection of former commercial buildings with a new community and townscape to complement and reflect the architecture and prestige of the area. On completion, anticipated for 2016, it will feature 1,000 high quality new homes, made up of luxury apartments, prestigious penthouses, leisure facilities and beautifully landscaped gardens, squares and public spaces

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