Strange scenes today on Fulham Palace Road. The brickwork on this building is cracked open, revealing plain concrete beneath. Shoddy construction? Earthquake damage? Nope, it's art.
The unzipped facade is the work of Alex Chinneck. Enigmatically called 'Six pins and half a dozen needles', it is built from 4,000 bricks and stainless steel. It decorates — or disrupts — a building within the new Assembly London 'campus', a mix of offices, retail and restaurants.
You may recall some of Chinneck's previous London work, including the floating building in Covent Garden Piazza, an upturned pylon in Greenwich, and the sadly demolished upside-down house in Southwark. All play with our expectations of architecture and make us reconsider the built environment.
Six pins... is Chinneck's first permanent installation. According to the artist:
The work was conceived to engage people in a fun and uplifting way. Although we use real brick, it was designed with a cartoon-like quality to give the sculpture an endearing artifice and playful personality. I set out to create accessible artworks and I sincerely hope this becomes a popular landmark for London and positive experience for Londoners.
The work is both playful and surreal, but it also suggests the superficiality of the modern world. Chinneck shows us that this isn't a traditional brick building at all — more a concrete box in brick mascara. It's a refreshing and welcome bit of honesty for a commercial development.
Six pins and half a dozen needles is at Assembly London, 77 Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8JA. The work was commissioned by AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets.