When the British Airways HQ was being built on the edges of one of London’s only remaining ancient moorland parks at Harmondsworth near Heathrow Airport it was decided that we should use artists who had an affinity with nature as the building was going to be totally sustainable in both build and design. This gave us a wonderful opportunity in 1998 to commission Andy Goldsworthy to create a sculpture for us and we asked if he could somehow bring the outside in. He came up with an ingenious idea of making one of his ‘Slate Cairnes’ for the inside ‘street area’ of the building its ‘home’ – the ‘chamber’ outside in the parkland siting it on the newly built lake - one in sight of the other. Andy has worked all his life as an artist in the outdoors creating sculptures and earthworks out of locally found materials from the land. You can view these at Storm King in Hudson Valley, New York State and at the Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where he had a major showing of specially commissioned works in 2007.
“The cone of cairn has become a journey to mark my travels. I have made them in many countries out of different stones and other materials, I see each cone as an independent marker to its place but also part of a line of markers that define the travels I have made. What makes the British Airways cairn very different is the relationship to what I call its home, the space the cone has left behind. I would hope this work will talk about home and away, their presence and absence and the connections between the two”.
Slate Cairn and Chamber by Andy Goldworthy was the recipient of the Art and Work Awards, 2000
From 1996-2012 Artwise built and managed the British Airways Art Collection (ultimately amassing over 2000 works of art), curated the lounges globally and commissioned over 50 artists to do site-specific bespoke work. In addition to Andy Goldsworthy’s commission for Waterside, other notable commissions include: an audio walk by Janet Cardiff (also for Waterside), two wall drawings by Sol LeWitt and award-winning sculptures by Frank Tjepkema on behalf of Droog, and Troika.