Steve Messam and ARTIQ launch public art installation at Merchant Square

ARTIQ are delighted to announce the launch of a public art project with Steve Messam and Merchant Square to launch Merchant Square’s first ever ‘Mindful March’ series of events.

‘Flotilla’ is a multi part installation by artist Steve Messam, featuring a stunning armada of 180 light-up origami boats on the Regents Canal. The work is designed to be a visual reminder to busy local workers, residents and passers-by to stop and take some time to reflect and experience some quality ‘me time’ during the month-long programme of wellbeing events at Merchant Square.

By day, the installation is a tranquil fleet of pure white ‘paper’ boats, and by night the internally lit vessels is a mesmerising pattern of slow-changing colour floating on the canal at Paddington Basin.

Each miniature origami ship is made from polymer paper that folds and behaves as paper, yet is waterproof and weather resistant. Every vessel is anchored but still able to move enough to react naturally to the effects of the wind and water.

The boats are of varying size and are positioned in an apparently random fashion much like a swarm. The number of craft pays homage to the basin’s historical origins when it was a major transhipment facility, and a hive of activity.

Andrew Scrivener, European Land chief executive said: “Merchant Square is a mixed-use development that prides itself on delivering more than just high quality real estate. Steve Messam’s stunning illuminated origami flotilla is the perfect visual reminder to stop, take a moment and enjoy the surroundings of Paddington Basin before heading into to the office or home. A place to obtain that true work life balance that we all aspire to in the centre of the London.”

Commenting on the installation, artist Steve Messam said: “I am delighted to be involved in launching Merchant Square’s Mindful March, there’s something always quite magical about floating artworks. They have a certain delicacy about them – the way they are constantly in motion with every slight breeze or movement of the water. The play of light and their reflections – by day and night – adds to their sense of fragility as paper boats in a once very industrial environment.”

The installation was launched on Thursday 1st March and will remain on display until 12th April. Admission free! Merchant Square. 9 Harbert Road, London, W2 1JS

Photography by Tess Mickleburgh