Keepmoat Homes has unveiled designs for the new bear pit public artwork which will be displayed at its flagship Cable Wharf development in Kent.
The national homebuilder has received planning approval from Kent County Council for the public artwork to be installed above the buried remains of a Grade II listed bear pit which was once a focal attraction of the Victorian pleasure gardens occupying the site during the 19th century.
The artwork, named “Born to be Wild”, has been developed by artists NEON in collaboration with landscape architects ARC and draws inspiration from the lines of the archaeological structures buried below.
Following engagement with the local community, local heritage groups and experts, the artwork uses a contemporary undulating form which is reminiscent of tree branch structures.
The artwork is designed to invite the public to sit, walk through or climb on it much like a bear in the wild.
The public heritage of the site will be displayed through traditional interpretation boards and way finding markers, along with street furniture, engraved paving, and a paving artwork along the river front.
The artwork is anticipated to be installed in autumn 2021 and forms part of a wider heritage strategy at the development which includes the industrial cable works of WT Henley, the Rosherville Gardens, the caves in the chalk cliffs and the uses of its riverside location.
Mick O’Farrell, regional managing director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “We have listened to and continue to work with the public, local stakeholders and authorities to ensure the heritage at Cable Wharf is preserved.
“The culture surrounding the development is a key focus for us and we’re thrilled to have received planning permission for the public artwork to be installed to commemorate the historic bear pit within the Italian garden.
“NEON’s proposal stood out to us during a competitive pitch due to the vibrant and modern interpretation of the former bear pit.
“The artwork has been designed to act as a provocation that asks us to consider the future relationship between animals and humans, and we’re looking forward to installing the structure later this year.”
Forming part of the Ebbsfleet Garden City, Cable Wharf is a new riverside development which is transforming the former Northfleet Industrial Estate, bringing 598 much-needed new homes to the area.
Set between a backdrop of chalk white cliffs and the River Thames, the development takes inspiration from its rich industrial heritage and paves the way to reopen this part of the river for the first time in more than 100 years.
The housing development will also offer a range of local amenities with 5,666 sq ft of commercial space, new transport links and a primary school to create a thriving community.
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