Our Domain project submitted for planning approval

The Our Domain Team is delighted to announce that the three-dimensional public artwork ‘Mantlepiece’ is now being submitted for planning approval.

The application represents the final stage in a collaborative and participatory art project that launched last October. During the project 5 artist teams worked with local organisations and individuals to create proposals for the final artwork. The proposals were all exhibited in the newly completed Resident Lounge at Domain earlier this year. Following the exhibition Mantlepiece was selected to go forward to the final stage, working with the team to prepare a detailed application.

The Mantlepiece project took an innovative approach to the project brief and developed a proposal for a ‘room without walls’. The artwork, which includes a doorway, a window wall with a mantlepiece and a carved oak chair, offers a settled and ‘home-like’ place for people to gather; to sit and contemplate the intricate vista captured in the resin-cast window.

The scene in the window will be created by an ongoing process of community engagement; described by the artist, Nick Garnett, as ‘a coral reef of once loved objects, old lives re-imagined and woven by many hands to become an extraordinary new landscape’.

If approved, Mantlepiece will provide a focal point for the new residential development, Domain, and will make a positive contribution to the local environment. It will be a visually engaging, interactive and playful space that invites passers-by to stop and talk. Its domestic scale captures the sense of Domain as home, a place to relax, dream and imagine.

The Team would like to commend and sincerely thank all artist teams for their participation in this project, including Nick Garnett, Charlie Robinson, Andy Trevorrow, Petre Nikoloski, Ahmad Alazami, Qamar Ayoubi, Caroline Streatfield, Leigh Took, Lauren Took, Sarah Britten Jones and Jon Lockhart. The five proposals, Mantlepiece, Missing Yew, Shadows of Reading, Reading Hug and St Retail of Reading were all of exceptionally high quality and presented the panel with a very difficult decision.

James Chard of AWW architects said. ‘As one of the technical consultants, I found the competition and witnessing the creativity of each team a very rewarding experience. The collaborative and open nature of the competition has allowed for a very robust iterative design process resulting in all submissions being of a very high calibre.

Whilst there can only be one winning design, I would like to thank all those that participated and engaged with the mentors and technical advisors. I would also like to recognise Alison of Redport for her enthusiasm and organisational skills in managing and driving the competition forward to its successful conclusion.

Congratulations to Nick Garnett and his team for their winning submission ‘Mantelpiece’. I look forward to working with them in implementing their art piece in the near future.’

Following the exhibition in June, the decision was made on the basis that Mantlepiece was well suited to the location and best embodied what the project was looking for in terms of place-making; identifying the new residential development as home, with all the rich associations of daily lives embodied by the collection of everyday objects and the view beyond.

Since then, the Creative Juices team (Nick Garnett, Charlie Robinson, and Andy Trevorrow of Live Edge Design) have been working intensively with the Domain team to ensure that the project meets all technical and health and safety requirements.

Nick Garnett, artistic lead for the Creative Juices team said: The ‘Our Domain commissioning process has been a great experience for me as an artist. Working with Charlie and Live Edge has enabled our proposal to be more ambitious than any of my previous work.

The enthusiasm shown by participants from Whitley and the wider community has brought life and vitality to the work. We look forward to working with them again to realise the final piece. Working with Glen Ingleson from Crossmark and James Chard from AWW has been an absolute delight. Their support and desire to see this work realised to its full potential has been remarkable.

Thank you Suzanne Stallard for your insight and understanding. Above all I would like to thank Alison Bancroft for her patience and hard work in bringing all the strands together and helping us to fit round pegs into square holes.

I look forward with great anticipation to seeing this work becoming a reality.’

If the planning application is approved, Mantlepiece will then be formally commissioned, and work will begin on the final piece.

The artwork is expected to be completed and open to the public early 2023.