World's End Is located between King's Road and the river Thames in South Kensington. It is also the name for the large estate located here. This was built at the same time as Lancaster West estate where I am currently community artist in residence. I thought it useful to pay the sister estate a visit and a recent Open Day afforded that opportunity.
The architectural design at World's End is far more striking and successful. It appears to be designed as the original architect, Eric Lyons, had intended. The estate consists of 7 high-rise tower blocks interlinked by 9 low-rise walkways with two internal courtyards. All the buildings merge into each other and create that unified feeling. There are also shops and other facilities built in and around World's End which it's brother in the north is sorely missing. Notable amongst these are a school, church and theatre. Lancaster West had the same "walkways in the sky" aspiration but it's building process was far more complicated and resulted in a more fragmentary outcome.
What the estates have in common are the signage. As I've discovered in the archives, the design team of Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert were appointed to produce the estate navigation for both Lancaster West and the World's End in the early 1970s. They built upon their classic designs used to revolutionise signage on Britain's motorways. I particularly like the way individual flat numbers at Chelsea Reach Tower are denoted in a tower like grid. Very elegant.
It was a pleasant surprise to come across a public art work that seemed to unconciously reference this design history. Set high up on a sheer brick facade, was a series of signs, capturing the receding light of the day and providing reflective glimpses back in time as well as into the future. They seemed to be quizzical pointing in various, complicated directions. How do you make a home in the rich city? How do you find your bearings in communal life? What is the role of art?