Cover-up! Quentin Blake drafted in to hide 'unsightly' buildings
The children's illustrator has been hired to give travellers stepping off the new high-speed train from Paris a better first impression of the city
Sunday 21 October 2007
As the artist whose illustrations enlivened Roald Dahl's children's books, Quentin Blake is renowned for his inspirational work.
Yet, even by his standards, the artist's latest feat is exceptional: he is working with property developers to make an entire building in central London disappear. He has been commissioned to provide a giant drawing to hide a ramshackle block called Stanley Building South, which stands on the edge of the £2bn King's Cross redevelopment.
The building is empty and boarded up. More to the point, in the minds of the property developer Argent, it is far too much of an eyesore to be the first thing that passengers see as they step off the high-speed train from Paris.
Their prescription for this problem is an artistic screen illustrated by Blake, to hide the dilapidated building. It would become a feature, illuminated at night by floodlights.
"Stanley South is part of an international gateway and will soon be very much 'on show'," Argent has told local authority planning officers. "Its current visual appearance – pending the longer-term refurbishment – detracts from the quality of environment and world-class gateway now being put in place."
Blake, 75, was asked to create "an imaginary welcoming committee". He has included characters singing and dancing, swigging beer and enjoying food.
"It is a scene of celebration with bunting and flag-waving to greet the new arrivals," according to Argent. "It is an arresting image to make visitors feel that they have arrived somewhere fun, welcoming and memorable."
Blake, who illustrated Dahl classics such as The Twits, Matilda and The BFG, was chosen because he was interested in a proposal to open a Museum of Illustration somewhere on the redevelopment site.
"Quentin Blake's work is high-profile within France," said the developer. "This adds to the logic of commissioning [him] to create a unique illustration at Stanley South that will celebrate . . . the arrival of the high-speed train connection with France into St Pancras, and the wider regeneration of King's Cross Central, which has now begun in earnest."
The only stumbling block is that the project doesn't meet Camden council's strict planning codes on "wraps". The developers are asking officials to treat their application as a "special case". A decision is expected next month.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...