Longley Place: Art and Architecture

Longley Place: Art and Architecture

In a significant partnership with Legal & General, Art Acumen has taken a leading role in shaping a dynamic art strategy in Brighton. This project places a strong emphasis on the integration of art within the public realm, together with thoughtful creative engagement for the community, underscoring our fundamental commitment to enriching the cultural landscape for all.

The redevelopment of the former Longley Industrial Estate acts as a catalyst for Brighton’s masterplan and the regeneration of the London Road Central Area. Art Acumen is dedicated to using art as a beacon for change, fostering equality and inclusion within the local community, ensuring that all individuals, particularly those facing barriers to cultural opportunities, have access to a diverse array of creative activities. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, we actively nurtured connections, aligning public art, the public realm, future ambitions and heritage to create a vibrant cultural tapestry in the city.

Led by the building design, the flank wall was selected to house the public artwork, with key pedestrian approach sightlines informing placement and proportion, to ensure enjoyment by the residents, workers, visitors and the wider community. We explored several approaches to displaying the artwork on the flank wall, from directly painting a design onto the brick, to attaching a wall sculpture to the surface. We concluded that in order to gain most aesthetic benefit from the art budget and to retain longevity of quality we would work with materials that could easily be incorporated into the wall’s existing design and detailing. To give us the largest possible area we chose glazed brick, enabling us to create a colourful, durable, low maintenance artwork that also links with other glazed-brick areas on the building.

In consultation with all stakeholders we commissioned the exceptionally talented textile artist and colourist, Ptolemy Mann to create a large scale artwork reflecting Brighton & Hove’s green spirit from a community perspective. This project was conceived and launched during lockdown at a time when movement was restricted and the whole country were reconnecting with and enjoying their outside spaces. These circumstances further informed the brief for Ptolemy – to create a design that captured and celebrated outside spaces in and around Brighton & Hove.  As a way of including the community on her creative journey, she documented her research and design process through a series of captivating photographs, detailed sketches and largescale abstract water colour paintings, which we shared  through various social networks. These visual chronicles served as the foundation for her abstract expressions of places, which were seamlessly woven into the horizontal bond brick pattern, used in the creation of the wall designs.

In addition to communicating Ptolemy’s creative process we designed and hosted a separate community engagement project to create a deeper connection with the themes and ideas behind the public art commission at Longley Place, and to activate the importance of green public spaces; shedding light on what is currently cherished and celebrated within the community, while also highlighting the hopes and ambitions for the future.

Brighton & Hove is known internationally as hotbed of creativity. It is at the epicentre of one of the most dynamic and innovative creative clusters in the UK, and home to hundreds of artists and creative producers. This new development for Brighton will serve the thriving digital media and technology scene, with start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses drawn to the culture and graduate workforce. Most importantly, it will support a desire for Brighton and Hove to progress and embrace its potential as the capital of the coast.

This project embodies the essence of Brighton, showcasing its progressive and environmentally conscious spirit. It stands as a beacon for change; celebrating green spaces and ambitious sustainability goals, setting a profound tone for residents, visitors, investors and businesses, and the future regenerations of the City.