PROPERTY: Art and culture have a positive social impact
Drop into any property marketing suite and it’s likely to feature some kind of art, writes Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, the firm behind the £20m residential redevelopment of the Eye Witness cutlery works in Sheffield.
Whether it’s a framed city skyline or abstract colour wash to set the mood – the path of developers selling an aspirational lifestyle is well-trodden.
Developers in London have this licked. They’re often appealing to buyers wealthy enough to collect art. Some developers are even providing art consultants to purchasers and reinforcing walls to take heavy installations. Sure, this has its place, but to us it feels a tad vacuous, if not elitist.
We’re more interested in working with grassroots artists and celebrating the cultural heritage of the cities where we work.
Already a destination for its art, music and festivals, Sheffield has a prolific reputation for street art. Walk down almost any street in the city centre and you’ll stumble upon an awesome mural or eye-catching graffiti.
Before construction gets under way at Eyewitness Works we offered up the building for the awesome Mausoleum of the Giants Show by Sheffield Street artist Phlegm.
More than 12,000 people visited the giant sculptures and got to experience the beauty of the building before we get started on transforming it into the city’s coolest homes.
And this isn’t the first time we’ve had some form of cultural collaboration in our buildings.
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We’ve held art battles to raise money for charity; exhibitions to showcase local artists; and we’ve even got a temporary brewery in our Crusader Mill in Manchester.
Our Littlewoods Building in Liverpool is adorned with a giant mural by global graffiti artist Replete and the city’s own star Betarok75 and in Manchester we’re collaborating with renowned street artist Aske who’s created some Instagram-friendly masterpieces across our buildings.
Art and culture can, and should, have a role in regeneration.
Whether it’s creating a buzz in an area before construction starts or nurturing the creative talents of the neighbourhoods we work in, it can have a positive social impact.
Our buildings are part of the fabric of the towns and cities in which they stand, and it feels fitting that we can use them to showcase local talent.
By imbedding the culture of the city in what we’re doing, we’ve a better chance of creating vibrant communities that stand the test of time.