The Ecology of Colour, Ecology Island, Dartford
Multi-award winning, art and architecture practice Studio Weave have created ‘The Ecology of Colour’ – a beautiful timber, hand-painted building located on the Ecology Island in Dartford’s Central Park. The Ecology of Colour is the third Artlands public realm commission for North Kent and responds to the charming site known as Ecology Island, a magical, wild, wooded peninsula hidden at the very heart of Dartford’s Central Park and is dedicated to the study of the natural environment within an urban context.
In response to this unique context, Studio Weave have designed a small versatile building with a semi-outdoor space at ground level and an enclosed area on the first floor with shutters of various sizes to allow for hidden bird watching. As well as a bird hide and art studio the building will be used as an outdoor classroom, a dyeing workshop and simply as a rain shelter within the Ecology Island.
The building unashamedly celebrates colour, and Studio Weave have collaborated with designers Nous Vous, who have created a bold, cohesive graphic visual language for the exterior of the structure. Prior to its installation, a team of local residents and artists worked together in a painting workshop to produce each of the 144 panels, which form the external cladding.
In tandem with the design of The Ecology of Colour, Studio Weave have worked in collaboration with a horticulturalist to design a garden that will yield natural dyes. The planting scheme, which will be installed Spring 2013, predominantly includes traditional plants native to the South of England such as Golden Rod which produces a magnificent yellow, Alder known for its vibrant red, and Bugloss whose roots produce a mesmerizing blue.
Artlands and Studio Weave have been working with various partners such as North West Kent Countryside Partnership and Dyeworks to arrange a programme of workshops for the coming months, which will offer opportunities to learn about the possibilities of natural dyes and textiles. These workshops will create their own colourful environment, with dyed fabrics hanging out to dry on demountable washing lines, spinning wheels and looms set against a backdrop of this magnificent new commission. An additional programme of activities will also be delivered throughout Autumn 2012, which explores the relationship between the urban and the rural and seeks to create entrepreneurial opportunities and skills exchanges between communities from both areas.
The photographs were taken by me on 25 September, 2012 and show the fabricators working on the building, which is almost complete.