17 February 2009

Kings Place

Kings Place is a new multi-purpose building just to the North of Kings Cross Station, on York Way and next to the Regent's Canal.

For most people, Kings Place is, or will be, best known as a music venue. There are two halls, imaginatively named Hall One and Hall Two, that hold a variety of musical events including classical, folk and jazz.

But the bulk of the building is office space and it is now the office of The Guardian newspaper.

It is also Logica's new Central London office and we occupy the top (seventh) floor.

Very few staff are based there as its main purpose is to host client events. Its location and public spaces make it ideal for this. To meet this requirement, most of the space is given to meeting rooms and hot desks. It is an effective if somewhat soulless space.

Kings Place makes the most of its canal-side location.

There are terraces all around the building and these are populated with works of modern art. I like the shapes and colours of these and the way that they break up the familiar straight lines of modern buildings.

The small dock, Battlebridge Basin, is home to several houseboats and these provide more interesting shapes and colours.

These boats have seen much change over the years. They are surrounded by some Victorian warehouses (converted to other uses now) from when the canal was first built, some social housing from when canals were all but forgotten and some brash new offices now that water-side properties are attractive again.

Sandwiched between the music halls and the offices are some exciting public spaces with restaurants, bars and galleries.

The current exhibition in the main gallery is by Albert Irvin.

Most of the canvasses are large (2m x 3m) and some are huge (3m by 6m), but all are as brightly and boldly coloured as in this example.

The smaller gallery has a collection by Dale Atkinson that was inspired by the building of Kings Place over two years.

These skilfully combine elements of abstract art with fine pencil drawings of the workers. It may be because of the industrial nature of these drawings that I find them more interesting than their more colourful neighbours.

Kings Place follows in the tradition of the Barbican, though on a much smaller scale, and perhaps one day it will become as well known and as well loved.

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