Canary Wharf has unveiled Urban Refuge, a striking new artwork for World Environment Day (5th June), created with second-hand denim donated to the Estate’s first Swap Station.
Launched on Earth Day, the Swap Station clothes donation bank allowed shoppers to give in their old clothes in return for shopping vouchers from a range of retailers at Canary Wharf. Denim items such as jeans, jackets and accessories were selected by Berry who spent the last six weeks transforming them into a piece of exclusive art, which will sit in the centre of Jubilee Place mall for six weeks.
The artwork was designed as a pergola-style installation that shoppers can walk through or simply stand in for a few peaceful moments. Pieces of denim of different sizes were cut into the shapes of flowers and plants using a lasering technique and then meticulously attached, one by one, to the base structure of the pergola.
Any clothes not used for the art was donated to Love Not Landfill, a non-profit campaign to encourage fast fashion fans to buy second-hand, swap, recycle and give to charity. They collected more than 400kg of clothes.
The Swap Station campaign forms part of Canary Wharf’s ongoing investment in public art and sustainability. Urban Refuge joins over 110 works by over 50 international artists currently in place around the Estate, with new installations and exhibitions launching throughout the year.
Poplar-based artist Berry is world-renowned for his work turning old denim into striking visualisations, notably creating celebrity portraits including Debbie Harry and Giorgio Armani. He is known for intricate works depicting real life in collections including Behind Closed Doors and My Beautiful Launderette in 2016 and Hotel California in 2019.
Artist Ian Berry said: “It’s been incredible to be part of this project that’s all about helping the environment while providing a unique piece of art for people to enjoy. The donations by Canary Wharf’s community exceeded every expectation – no one thought it was going to be anywhere near 400kg! I can’t wait for the Wharf’s shoppers, workers and visitors to come and see my unique piece, I’m confident they’re going to love it.”