IMG 4443fi 800x425 - Daimen Hirst rides London's Tide!

You may have not heard of it but London’s new Tide is coming! Riding it will be Damien Hirst himself – or rather – two of his sculptures! ‘The Tide’ is a high level walk from just outside the O2 itself to the Thames and is sort of a garden bridge too. Its meant to be a highline – except its brand new rather than cobbled from a dodgy old railway viaduct. It’ll open on 5th July with a two week festival called ‘Turning Tides’ to celebrate the walkway’s opening. No doubt Damien Hirst will be on hand to officiate in the unveiling of his sculptures, Hydra and Kali, and The Mermaid.

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Illustration of how the whole walkway will look. Source: Twitter

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Damien Hirst’s Hydra and Kali. Source: Twitter

Originally plans were for a lengthy high-level walk all around the area, totally 5km, and the Evening Standard certainly makes note of this in its recent article – but it seems just this bit is being built so far. Its not clear what the plans are or even if 5km will indeed be built.

Nevertheless when the walkway does open it will provide great interest as well as splendid views across the Thames to Leamouth, Trinity Buoy Wharf and Canning Town, as well as eastwards towards the Thames Barrier and Woolwich. It too will be a good vantage point for spotting planes flying in and out of City Airport!

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The Standard announces Damien Hirst’s work will take pride of place at North Greenwich.

Damien Hirst says: I’m so happy to be part of the Greenwich Peninsula project because public art plays such a big part in making London the city that it is, and it’s great to be involved in that. When I was at Goldsmiths I lived on the peninsula, on River Way — this tiny row of houses with a pub at the end that back then was surrounded by wasteland; it’s wild that it’s now this incredible hub. (Source: Standard)

The walkway will stretch from Peninsula Square (by the O2) as far as Olympian Way (which is the present path along the Thames) and will be in the middle of the public space that is to be established between Ravensbourne University and the Pier Walk buildings. It will pass across Cutter Lane en route. No doubt TfL staff at their Pier Walk offices will enjoy the regular views of the park and people using the walkway!

It will be very popular no doubt as large crowds will be attracted from the hordes heading for the O2 looking for some other attraction of interest as well as the venue itself.

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The 45m high Peninsula Spire by the 02 marks the start of the new high level walkway.

There are many attractions being developed in the immediate area, the most well known being the Emirates airline, but there are also other exhibition centres such as the Now Gallery, regular cultural events and so on.

In terms of arts and culture there are also works from Allen Jones plus architectural duo Heather Peak and Ivan Morison who have created London’s longest outdoor picnic table. At 27 metres long this will stand on the riverfront nearby.

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Participating artists at The Tide and its locality. Source: Greenwich Peninsula

Heather Peak and Ivan Morison: The Tide is just going to increase the creative force and thread that runs through the whole area. The Tide will be a new public space and a civic amenity, which is an incredibly important part of a transformation of a place. A park should be at the heart of a community and we are always very interested in working with organisations that believe that civic space is important. (Source: Forbes)

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Workmen putting the finishing touches to the stepped terraces on the first part of the walkway

The high level walk will be yet another leisure activity and will no doubt put North Greenwich much more firmly on the map as one of London’s must do destinations. The area has indeed been designed with leisure and tourism in mind. One unexpected result of this might be that we will see more people use the Emirates airline!

The marketing director of Greenwich Peninsula says: We thought about how we can draw people out of their apartments and office buildings and into public spaces and also have an opportunity to experience art and culture in a way that maybe you normally have to go to a museum or art gallery to do. (Source: Standard)

There’s been very little publicity on this high level walkway and barely any photographs featured online. I first knew of it through a short article on the Murky Depths blog and even that did not have any images showing the walkway to its best advantage. Then this article appeared in the Standard. Invariably all the pictures of the walkway are artists’ illustrations. And a reason why I decided to take a look for myself!

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Looking south from Cutter Lane to Peninsula Square.

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View along Cutter Lane towards the 02.

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Close up of the yet unfinished walkway over Cutter Lane.

The walkway is designed by Diller Scofidio and Renfro, who were responsible for the creation of the worlds first and foremost High Line – that in New York, and are also responsible for another large structure that has just opened in NY’s Hudson Yards known as The Shed.

In terms of high level walkways it is quite substantial. London has several dotted about the capital the best known being those at the Barbican but others can be too found near the Monument and St. Paul’s. This, at North Greenwich is however different because its also a pocket garden dotted along its length.

Whilst admiring the new structure I noticed without a doubt there are what can only be described as elements of the abortive Garden Bridge. No its not the same design however the likeness is there, with the curved sections and supports, along with plants and trees along the top. I would think the styling is due to a desire to present a sort of link to nature, such as being the stem of a flower and then the larger curving bit towards the top being the part of the flower that opens up from the stem.

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Another view from Cutter Lane showing the northwards bit towards the river with quite a substantial area beneath as yet unfinished.

The larger part of the structure overlooks the O2 arena and it will clearly provide a popular resting spot or somewhere for people to sit among the trees on its stepped terraces and watch the hordes strolling about, making their way to the O2 or even climbing the famous done itself.

At its far end the walkway offers views across the Thames to Leamouth, Trinity Buoy Wharf, Canning Town, and for the more initiated views eastwards towards the Thames Barrier and Woolwich in the distance.

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The vantage viewpoint looking over the River Thames by Olympian Way.

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The viewpoint from another perspective.

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The vantage viewpoint where it stops by Olympian Way.

In case anyone thinks Olympian Way is a new route, it isn’t. Its the Thames Path with a new name! Its quite ironic, they see the Thames as a massive draw but a river side path with the same name a loss maker somehow!

Turning Tides Festival July 2019

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1 Comment

  1. They should stress-test it with an elephant for publicity.

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