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

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935