There’s been some exciting news I’ve been itching to share with you for months now. After having sworn absolute secrecy, I’m so relieved I can now finally tell you about this! In just a few weeks The Tide walkway at Greenwich Peninsula, London’s latest multibillion-pound regeneration project, will be revealed officially. AND hubby’s been invited to be part of the spectacular grand opening, alongside Yoko Ono, Nadine Shah and Damien Hirst, just to name a few of our closest friends! (just joking, obvs)
Marketed as London’s new flashy residential neighbourhood and cultural hub, Greenwich Peninsula promises to become the new hot destination for art, design and architecture. Let me give you some inside scoop about your next must-visit area! (And no, I have not been hired by their marketing department. I’m just genuinely enthusiastic.)
Greenwich Peninsula: the ‘starchitect’ playground
The starchi-wha? (Said in my London-ish accent.)
Yeah, I wasn’t familiar with this term either, but starchitects is the latest word hip kids use for A-star architects. Whoever came up with this clever contraction of the words ‘star + architects’ might just be the Shakespeare of our day.
To create the envisioned futuristic striking cityscape, Greenwich Peninsula developers Dragon Knight invited not just one, but eight highly respected architect firms! Amongst them is none other than Santiago Calatrava. He is one of the masterminds behind the striking City of Arts and Science in Valencia.
And then there’s also the Spanish design duo SelgasCano. Name sounds familiar? You might have seen their installation for the prestigious Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London in 2015. But you can actually find their striking designs following organic curved lines all over the world.
The first time I heard of them was in 2014 when the members-only workspace ‘Second Home’ opened in a former carpet factory in East London’s Shoreditch. SelgasCano were responsible for the eye-catching design of both the office spaces and the stunning bookshop Libreria right across the street.
The Tide: a new take on the New York High Line
One of the main features at Greenwich Peninsula I’m looking forward to most is The Tide. Once finished, this will be a 5km-long raised pedestrian walkway, inspired by the famous New York High Line.
In case you never heard of this before: the New York High Line is a long public garden along the abandoned rail tracks that once used to run over the Meatpacking District. I remember exploring the High Line in 2011, just a few minutes after spotting my culinary hero Anthony Bourdain in the street!
While the High Line looks out over New York’s urban landscape, The Tide on Greenwich Peninsula will run along the river Thames, offering pedestrians amazing waterfront views. In some places there will be even 10m-high platforms which I bet will provide some stunning vistas.
After its opening in 2009, the New York High Line became so successful it was copied in many cities around the world. But London’s walkway will be significantly different from all of those other versions. Why? Because the developers got the original High Line co-designers Diller Scofidio + Renfro on board!
The new destination for art, design and well-being
The Tide promises to become a much-needed oasis of calmness in the otherwise hectic London. If the carefully landscaped surroundings designed by landscape architects Gross Max aren’t just enough to calm you down, the audio meditation points along the walkway might just do the trick.
But also art lovers will appreciate The Tide, because it will be the home of new artworks. The first ones to be installed are Damien Hirst’s two sculptures Hydra And Kali and Mermaid. I’m for one am very curious to see these artworks in real life as they were part of Hirst’s hyped up 2017 Venice exhibition Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable.
You can watch a 90-minute mockumentary about this exhibition on Netflix. It shows how these enormous sculptures were supposedly discovered at the bottom of the sea after lying hidden for 2000 years. I didn’t have the stamina to sit through it, but found the whole story quite entertaining to say the least.
Since the development of Greenwich Peninsula is far from finished yet, it’s difficult to describe it in great detail right now. Obviously there will be housing and also new places for eating and drinking. But this doesn’t really excite me that much as swanky bars and restaurants aren’t that particularly hard to find in London.
What I do appreciate about this humungous development is the intention of creating a new hub for the arts. I especially have high expectations for The Design District which will offer 1,800 inspiring work spaces for creatives, entrepreneurs and start-ups once it opens in 2020.
Both the new Design District and The Tide tie in perfectly with the impressive public art trail The Line in the area. I wrote about this cultural hike on my blog before. You can find the article here: The LINE: Discover Free Art and Explore ‘Secret’ East London Sights by Air, Ground and Water!
Turning Tides Festival
Be the first to discover London’s brand-new neighbourhood!
It’s quite a funny coincidence that hubby and I first found out about the Greenwich Peninsula developments when we were following The Line exactly two years now. When we reached the O2 we spotted the name Calatrava on the hoardings of the building site. Being the huge nerds we are, we got very excited as having such a ‘starchitect’ involved, clearly indicated something big was upon us.
At that point we obviously never expected that hubby would be asked to be part of the high-profile official opening!
On Friday 5 July the first kilometre of The Tide will be opened during the Turning Tides Festival. Over the first two weekends of July, you can enjoy free music concerts, join (wellness) workshops, artist talks and indulge in art and scrumptious food.
Exclusively for the Turning Tides Festival, hubby (artist name Scanner) made his special artwork Undercurrent which you will be able to hear on headphones whilst walking over The Tide. You can read all about this piece and how it came about it in this blog post he wrote on his own website: Undercurrent: Right Beneath Your Feet.
Undercurrent is a collage of recordings hubby made of sounds that we usually are never able to hear. From earthworms burrowing their way through the soil, to fish in the Thames, to the electrical hum of machinery deep beneath the surface. Traverse the walkway and tune into this unique world of sonic exploration, where even in the seeming silence there is a magical sound world.
Here’s a little taster of Undercurrent:
Waiting for The Tide to come in
Cities are always changing and developing, and not always for the better sometimes. But here it feels as if Greenwich Peninsula is certainly trying to be more sensitive to living a life in such a busy metropolis. Not only is it a place to live, but also to create, work and visit.
What is it that you look for in a city? Let me know in a comment below!
Thanks, Zarina xx