Bollards and Art

As I said in an earlier post, I’d like to give a chance for people to appreciate something they would normally overlook or not even see, but I’m not the only one. Bollards have not gone entirely unnoticed. A number of artists, even today, are working with their councils to further enhance the potential of the bollard seeing it not as an ugly but necessary feature of the city, but as a blank canvas which can be played with, decorated, highlighted and used to convey messages of glee, warmth, happiness or simply fun. In this post I will talk about some of the best examples of when creative imagination meets stolid functionality.
In recent times Jan Mitchell of Australia has enhanced the cityscape of Geelong, Victoria by placing decorative, sculpted bollards throughout various public areas of the city including beaches and parks. Made from timber and stylised to reflect the cylindrical shape of the traditional maritime bollards, the bollards are plastered with bright paint in designs which are intended to resemble historical and contemporary public figures.

Norwich, England has also seen its share of bollard art-work. In 2008 the city council commissioned Oliver Creed to design a set of 21 bollards which were then installed close to the City Hall. The colour of 10 of the bollards is known as ‘madder’ red. The madder plant produced a dye which was used extensively in the city’s past when one of its major industries was cloth dying. The remaining bollards reflect the location they are placed and each have unique designs such as one bollard bearing a swan’s head on Swan Lane and another depicting a pastoral sheep-shearing scene.
While currently these artistic bollards are not so common, it seems to be a trend which is catching on with both Winchester city council and Whitchurch, Hampshire having recently commissioned bollard artworks to be developed in their areas.


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