White City

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Craig & Karl add colour to White City

Craig & Karl’s latest work HERE AFTER has transformed a Wood Lane petrol station into a vibrant reflection of the local area’s past and future.

That area is White City, which is steeped in British broadcasting history. The petrol station lies immediately between the BBC’s former headquarters at Television Centre, and White City Place, which housed many of the corporation’s staff.

HERE AFTER’s bright stripes and colorful forms of an old television test card, as well as referencing the chevrons and style often used in the branding of major petrol companies. The effect is spectacular, with pumps and buildings painted in a way that can’t help to attract public attention.

This is Craig & Karl’s first major public artwork in London, and is the first part of a regenerative scheme for the petrol station, which will soon become a venue for pop-up events. And this, in turn, is part of a wider £8 billion regeneration of the whole area.

We caught up with Craig & Karl to ask them about the project.

How did you get involved in this project?

Through the local council in White City who’d recently acquired the site and were looking to bring it back to life.

Did you know the area of White City before you embarked on it?

No, not at all really. Only its connection with the BBC.

What inspired the look you chose for the petrol station?

Well, the site is still unmistakably a petrol station – at least in form if not function – so we drew on the language associated with them, such as striped awnings or directional arrows and used them in a freer, more expressive way. It suggests a multitude of possibilities and new ways forward for both the site and the area at large. The colour palette also references a TV test screen as a nod to the adjacent Television Centre.

What does the name HERE AFTER mean?

It’s purposely not too specific. We based our idea on the notion that this is the petrol station’s wonder years or a new beginning, so in that context it’s a reference to a utopian or heavenly place. We also like that it suggests something more to come for the site – like “watch this space.”

Now that you’ve created your first London work, do you plan more?

There’s nothing else in the works, but we’d love to do more.

What do you hope people get from this work?

The hope is that it gets people to reconsider and engage with what’s been a neglected and somewhat invisible space. It’s in a prime location, but not much around it exists at ground level on a human scale, so it’ll be great as people start to take the site over and find new possibilities for it.

Will the piece remain in any form, when the site is taken over by pop-ups?

Yes, the idea is that it remains in its full form. At least for the foreseeable future. We designed in such a way that some of the panels can be moved when the main building opens up.