Published on 16 September 2019
Two new 5.5 metre interactive sculptures, situated in Kings Cross, London will greet locals and commuters this week in a bid to further the conversation about the capital’s mental health. The sculptures will be made from PEFC-certified Douglas Fir from leading French timber supplier Piveteaubois and supported by France-Douglas – a key association promoting the use of French Douglas Fir.
Multi-award-winning British designer Steuart Padwick, has once again teamed up with Time to Change – the mental health campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, to create the sculptures – ‘Talk To Me’. The sculptures are situated along King’s Boulevard in Kings Cross until 22 September as part of this year’s designjunction – a design festival that will take over key locations in the newly-renovated King’s Cross area as part of The London Design Festival. Talk to Me is a hopeful piece, reminding us that through communication with one another the weight many of us carry can be lightened. Padwick designed the sculptures in PEFC-certified Douglas Fir to convey a warmth and humanity in stark contrast to the solid cuboid shapes and ‘concrete’ blocks, which in reality were made from natural acrylic stone.
Alun Watkins, PEFC UK’s Executive Director said: “It is fantastic that Steuart Padwick has chosen to use PEFC-certified Douglas Fir. Not only is timber a sympathetic, natural and organic material that creates a sense of well-being, it has been sourced from responsibly-managed forests.”
The series progresses from the standing figure carrying the burden on its shoulders to resting against it – highlighting that whilst the burden may not be overtly visible it is often not far away. As passers-by approach the interactive giant cuboid timber figures, a proximity sensor is triggered, and they begin to voice poignant and uplifting words. These conversations start to crack the ‘burden’ to release a glowing light. “Many of us carry issues and burdens that hold us down and hold us back,” says Steuart Padwick. “Even when the burden is not overtly holding them down it is rarely far away. That is why one piece has the burden clearly on the shoulders, and with the other sitting piece, the burden is to one side – perhaps forgotten for a moment but always near.”
Talk To Me was designed and built within 12 weeks with minimal funding. All materials were donated and almost everyone involved in the project worked pro bono. To get involved in this year’s campaign, visit: www.steuartpadwick.co.uk/talktome
PEFC is one of the most commonly recognised global labels for sustainable forest management. Its distinctive ‘two trees’ label appears on forest products around the world providing assurances of legal and sustainable sourcing.
The build of “Talk To Me” by Steuart Padwick, part of designjunction 2019, in support of Time to Change. Film and images by Jake Pitcher.