City Park

Project: Bradford City Park: Mirrorpool Public Art Installations
Location: Bradford City Park, West Yorkshire
Cost: £250,000 + VAT (Public Art cost from £24m overall
Landscape Architect: Gillespies LLP
Artists: Wolfgang Buttress and Haque Design + Research
Arts of Place Curator:  beam
Client: Bradford City Council
Site Programme: 24 months
Atoll Service: Public Art Consultant for Gillespies LLP on behalf of Bradford CC
Project Status: Completed 2011
British Construction Industry Regeneration Awards Winner 2012
Lux Awards Urban Lighting Project of the Year 2012
Making a Difference in Yorkshire and Humber Awards 2012
Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) Awards: Animating Public Space Shortlisted 2012
Academy of Urbanism The Great Place Award 2013
RICS Pro-Yorkshire Regeneration Award: Highly Commended 2013
Urban Design Group: Best Project for the Public Sector 2013
RTPI Yorkshire’s Planning Excellence Award 2013
Landscape Institute Awards: Highly Commended 2014

Ian Banks acted as public art consultant and curator for the new £24m Bradford City Park, acting for the city council and working for landscape architects Gillespies and Arup engineers. Curated public artworks included the 10 Reeds sculptural light columns and play sculptures by artist Wolfgang Buttress and interactive interventions with both the fountains by The Fountains Workshop and light projections called Another Life by new media creatives Usman Haque of design & build studio Umbrellium .


Wolfgang Buttress designed 10 galvanised steel columns measuring 17m high designed to look like stylised reeds and rushes sitting at the edge of the mirror pool and also three smaller sculptures cast from reconstituted stone that provide interest and stopping points in the café space at the edge of the park.

Usman Haque and Jonathan Laventhol of Umbrellium designed and installed the interactive display ‘Another Life’ housed in four of the lighting columns, bringing an element of the responsive and conversant to City Park.  Using computer vision systems the laser display and fountains interact with the people in the space as well as environmental factors such as the time of day, the weather, and the water depth of the mirror pool.  Usman Haque was quoted as saying:

“…the project brings the environment to life and plays on the idea of urban myths by controlling fountains, mist makers, ambient lighting and multiple RGB lasers that draw unexpected dancing patterns of light on and around visitors in response to their movements through it. Never the same on two days running, the work encourages people to become players upon the urban stage by choreographing the projections, fountains and ambient illumination of the park in a symphony of interactive urban experiences”

City Park has since proved to be very popular with both critics and public alike, and has already won the British Construction Industry Regeneration Award, Lux Lighting Award and Acadamy of Urbanism Award. Linked to this, Ian helped broker a separate but linked innovative temporary arts programme called Arts of Place, which was curated by beam with Arts Council England and City of Bradford funding.

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Categories: Public Art

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