A joint venture with JCDecaux to produce “The Kensington”, a large steel ribbon with a 25-meter long HD screen inside
Design at the service of the citizens. This is not just an advertising slogan, but one that could be the motto for the result of a joint venture between Zaha Hadid Design and JCDecaux. The latter is a name that may not mean much to most people, even though we might have come across their products in everyday life. This is in fact the largest corporation in the world in the field of advertising in urban areas. When you see an advertisement on a bus or a billboard, it probably involves this colossus, founded in France in 1964.
The union between these two firms took shape in London, the capital of the United Kingdom and one of the major hubs for innovation in Europe. The result was “The Kensington”: a large steel ribbon with a soft wavy design, that contains a curved screen to show HD videos. Located on the major road connecting Heathrow Airport to the centre of the city, its size (30 metres long and 9 metres high) will make it a landmark familiar to citizens and tourists. Made of metal to make it faster to build, and later assembled on site, the structure contains lighting to illuminate the sidewalk and street, as well as a large planter.
«From the earliest phases in the design process, explained Melodie Leung, a senior associate in the Zaha Hadid Design studio, the goal was to develop a volume that would have an impact on the observer, in a synthesis of the concepts of multimedia platform and urban public art. It is also a significant investment in a poorly developed area and we are certain that it will be the first in a new type of urban billboards. The looped ribbon design expresses the dynamism of pedestrian and vehicle traffic movements in an area where thousands of vehicles drive by every day. Another specific feature of the shape, emphasizes Leung, is that it defines a silhouette that varies when seen from different viewpoints. It will be fascinating to see how brands respond to this digital canvas».
The final result satisfied the client and the citizens alike: the operation was approved in 2014 by the town council, which asked for some changes to be made to the initial proposal during the design process. «We are proud to have worked in partnership with Zaha Hadid Design to create this elegant modern version of a billboard, says Spencer Berwin, co-chief executive officer of JCDecaux. In this way, we have paid tribute to the work of Zaha Hadid and her team in the field of design, and done justice to the efforts of our partners in this operation, Audi and Coty”.
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translation by Olga Barmine