Breathing new life into the pavements of Kingsmere, a colourful selection of themed mosaics have transformed the new pathways around the development. Designed to reflect the history and ecological success of the site, they are a welcome artistic addition to this flourishing new village community.
Jointly commissioned by Cherwell District Council and Kingsmere developers, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd, artist and map-maker Rob Turner has designed and carefully crafted seven intricate mosaics. Each mosaic is unique, depicting a variety of flora and fauna native to the area, as well as landmarks and images of historic significance to the site.
Nicola Riley, Shared Community Services Manager at Cherwell District Council comments: “Public art has always been a key feature of this development and this latest project is something quite special for us. The mosaics are a fantastic tribute to the site’s history and a celebration of the increased variety of wildlife that is now making itself at home alongside the residents of Kingsmere. We’re thrilled to see Rob Turner’s artwork now in place, brightening up the pavements and providing a great talking point for visitors and the local community.”
Andrew Carrington, Director, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd comments: “Rob Turner has done a fantastic job in designing these new mosaics and has captured the wildlife and significant features exclusive to the site. The addition of good quality public art into new developments plays an important part in establishing a distinctive character and sense of place. We work closely with local authorities to develop public art strategies that will add value as well as contribute to the unique identity of a place. We hope that the local community will enjoy these new artworks at Kingsmere for generations to come”.
Artist Rob Turner spent 30 weeks working on the seven mosaics, ensuring each design is truly unique and expertly showcases the best of Bicester’s wildlife.
Rob commented: “The inspiration for the project was the Kingsmere Ecological Management Plan which highlighted existing habitats and species and the opportunities for enhancing these amongst the landscaping layout of the development. The mitigation of environmental impact, the wildlife ecology and habitat provision on the development has been the focus for these mosaics, which show habitat corridors and plant species in the landscaping of communal spaces. “The historical and contextual research for these mosaics began with old maps and documents kept in the Oxford History Centre. I also combined and modified plans and diagrams drawn up by Countryside Properties to create new compositions in the design work for these mosaics”.
The mosaics are not the first exterior feature linking in with the community and surround area to be installed at Kingsmere. In June 2014, nine sculptural benches were placed in the public open space at Pingle Brook, with children from St Mary’s School in Bicester joining the Countryside team at Kingsmere to learn about the sculptural benches and extensive wildlife now at home on the new development.
The benches were designed by artist Will Glanfield, and were carefully crafted from green and air dried European oak, again inspired by both the history of the site and the surrounding flora, fauna and wildlife recorded in the ecological survey of the site.
With Bicester now one of the fastest-growing towns in Oxfordshire, Kingsmere has helped establish a thriving new community on the south western edge of Bicester. A collection of quality new homes are being developed in this modern village development, alongside a wide range of amenities including a new secondary school and two new primary schools, the first of which opened earlier this year, a village centre, a sports village, and a variety of recreation and play areas. A hotel, and family restaurant have already been opened, and over 600 households are already enjoying living at the new development.
Frequent bus services now run throughout Kingsmere providing a direct connection to Bicester and Oxford city centre and the railways stations. As part of the scheme, Countryside Properties (Bicester) Ltd is also contributing major investment towards infrastructure improvements in and around Bicester including public transport, education, library services and highway improvements. The new Park and Ride at Kingsmere, opened in November 2015 offering a direct service into Bicester town centre.