Townscape Heritage Initiative – An abstraction of Brixton’s essential spirit

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Electric Avenue
Brixton Townscape heritage logo

The Brixton Townscape Heritage Initiative is proud to present the Electric Patterns Project. This project will create London’s first patterned market street by activating the roller shutters of the hard-working businesses on Electric Avenue with bold and original artworks by passionate local artists.  

The Brixton Project have worked with Lambeth Council to provide this free opportunity, jointly funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The ambition of the project is to transform the night-time experience of Electric Avenue into an eye-catching, rejuvenated landscape, filled with inspiration for all.

The Brixton Project released an open call inviting the residents of Brixton to submit designs that evoke the positive energy of Brixton, the diverse range of people who call it home and the rich heritage that influences both the present and future.

Forty-three talented individuals responded joyously to the call with more than 128 diverse and nuanced designs between them. From children, to professional artists, to inhabitants of Electric Avenue, to men in residence at HMP Brixton, the artists all returned artworks that were rich with colour, imaginative in their response and creative with the familiar symbols and sights of Brixton, abstracting them into symbolic, patterned motifs. Each submission was striking and sang with its own individual style and influence.

Local stakeholders – representatives from Lambeth council, the Brixton Society, Brixton Recreation Centre, Brixton BID, The Brixton Bugle, Brixton Market Traders’ Federation CIC and Sleepless in Brixton – were invited to shortlist the applicants, and found selecting from the plethora of artists near impossible due to the passion and creativity that went into every single submission!

Electric Patterns Project logo

Following this, we, The Brixton Project, took the catalogue of shortlisted designs and began our engagement with the businesses.

Our first attempt to engage businesses was faced with the quintessentially London-esque January rain and hail. Although, of course, this was not to dampen our spirits!

After a few rounds of visiting businesses and engaging with them, The Brixton Project successfully signed up 11 businesses to the project and began to liaise between them and the artists.

Businesses having a direct say and being a part of an open dialogue on the creative outcome of the project was a top priority, as we wanted to produce artworks for their shutters that reflected their unique voice in the community.

For example, the staff at Danny’s Greengrocer shared their passion for the well-loved Peace & Love Bridge on Brixton Road and we ensured his selected artist responded to that. 

Similarly, the buzzy and brilliant Pape & Camille, from their self-titled hair and beauty store, wanted to guarantee their chosen artist reflected their distinctive crimson and white aesthetic on a pattern that features combs as a tribute to their trade.

The Electric Patterns Project embodies the creative, positive and culturally diverse nature of Brixton and the ongoing influence of the area’s rich heritage through the designs inspired by it.

It is an abstraction of Brixton’s essential spirit and looks to the future to create a new visual language that is unique from the murals and street art, but in keeping with the same essential community-driven values behind the art.

The designs will be installed on vinyl graphics onto the shutters to ensure their longevity and quality and, despite being delayed by the current crisis, are set to appear soon. Follow @brixtonproject on Instagram for more updates.