Architects CAN and artist Felicity Hammond collaborate on new public artwork for Brighton
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Architects CAN and artist Felicity Hammond collaborate on new public artwork for Brighton
Felicity Hammond & CAN, FORECAST. Photo: Richard Chivers.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE.- A new permanent public artwork has been revealed in East Sussex by artist Felicity Hammond and architecture and ideas studio CAN. The artwork - FORECAST - has been commissioned by Brighton and Hove Council as the focus of a new civic space between the historically significant Portslade town hall and the newly built Victoria Road Housing Development in Portslade, Hove. The work is accessible to view 24 hours a day to the public. For the work, on England’s South Coast, Hammond and CAN have produced a cluster of three organic forms appearing as weathered sections of brickwork, washed up and castaway by the sea.

Hammond is a visual artist who works on large-scale installations, both within gallery and public contexts. CAN designs spaces, places, and objects that subvert and amplify their social and cultural contexts. Through their practices, both Hammond and CAN are interested in re-imagining existing urban character to create new responses to its setting. They share an interest in creating idiosyncratic and visually striking projects underwritten by rigorous cultural and historical research. The project is Hammond and CAN’s first collaboration.

The forms are made from cement mixed with an aggregate of waste bricks leftover from the construction of the new housing. Sited in the central civic space of the development, fragments of brick are revealed on the polished surface of the sculptures, mimicking the way that the tide erodes and smoothes industrial materials. The history of the site and its coastal location are embedded in the processes used to make the artwork, which references the local former brickfield and the polishing company that once occupied the adjacent town hall.

Holding the polished brick forms in place are a series of steel hoops, which at once blend into the aesthetic of municipal design yet also stand out, like a warning or a marker. The painted steel mimics the change in texture on the concrete forms, suggesting a rising tidal line; a hint at the challenges faced by coastal towns. Through this gesture, Forecast responds to the very nature of permanence in relation to public art, asking its audience not only to consider the material histories related to the site, but also its future form.

Felicity Hammond received an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art in London in 2014 and completed her PhD in Contemporary Art Research at Kingston University in 2021. Recent public projects have included a major outdoor commission for Colchester and Ipswich Museum (2023) and a site-specific project for Photo Australia and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program in Melbourne (2021). Hammond’s first institutional solo exhibition took place at C / O Berlin in 2021, and her work has been in many international group exhibitions including Centre for Visual Art Denver, Garage Rotterdam, Fotomuseum Winterthur, and Saatchi Gallery. Hammond’s work has been internationally recognised for her unique approach to combining photographic practice with large scale installation, and has been nominated for and received a number of awards, including the Lumen Art Prize (2018), FOAM Talent (2016), and the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award (winner, 2016). Hammond’s first book, Property, was published in 2019 by Self Publish, Be Happy. She lives and works in London.

CAN is an architecture and ideas studio based in Catford, London. Founded in 2016, the studio has completed projects of varying scales from furniture and exhibitions through to artist studios, homes and workplaces. They are currently working on the conversion of a WW2 bomber command centre into a home in Lincolnshire, a new workshop and learning hub for the community organisation STORE and a new dining chair commision. They have recently completed the Urban Rooms for the newly opened Farrell Centre In Newcastle Upon Tyne which focus on engaging the public in the past, present and future development of Tyneside.

CAN's work has featured in International and national press, including The Sunday Times, Wallpaper* and the Observer. They have won multiple awards for their work including two RIBA regional awards, the 2021 RIBA Rising Star award and were finalists for RIBA House of the Year 2022. They were included in The Observer's 'Top 5 Architecture of 2020' list.

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