Anglophilic architects may recognize the south London borough of Croydon for its arts-and-crafts style Town Hall by Charles Henman, completed in 1896, and its Brutalist residential towers by the Greater London Council in the 1960s. Drawing upon Croydon’s architectural heritage, and British Victorian design more broadly, multidisciplinary designer Adam Nathaniel Furman has added a new public art centerpiece in the borough, what Furman calls a “porcelain palace for the people.”
Croydon Colonnade is a thoughtfully designed public space at the ground-level of a Croydon office building. It consists of sixteen, 25-foot-tall columns and several walls clad in three-dimensional, handmade porcelain tiles.
The porcelain tiles use a gradient to create a visual spectacle along the colonnade’s winding vista. At the head height of an average Londoner, the porcelain tiles change color from blue to white. Upon closer inspection, each tile possesses sensual, irregular details, revealing the artist’s unique hand.
Furman took inspiration for the loggia from Croydon’s Brutalist heritage and Durham Cathedral built in the 11th century with a Victorian restoration by George Gilbert Scott from 1860. Croydon Colonnade’s columns reference Durham Cathedral by using two types of stone patterns, one inboard the other outboard, to create a dazzling visual experience. Furman claimed the result is “uniquely British, distinctly Croydon and completely unique.”
Furman’s project in Croydon is one of several completed by the designer this year in London. Previously, AN covered Furman’s piece, Abundance, an art wall located at Paddington Station, which opened to the public this summer.