Notting Hill Gate Bus Shelter (with Norman Foster)
Notting Hill Gate, London, England
"This is the Notting Hill bus stop Norman Foster and I collaborated on. Our proposal was for a series of shelters, the world's first combined bus stop and disabled access toilet, where each roof would have an artwork where I'd use the materials of the shelter to achieve the nearest thing to a stained glass experience within the budget. In 1999 we did two experiments, one here and one by the Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street. The intention was that every bus stop of this type manufactured by JCDecaux (probably the most adventurous of all street furniture producers) globally would include printed, faux stained glass, and I wanted each in England to have the appropriate text to its location from Pevsner's 'Buildings of England' series. Though only two were made, I was really pleased with them: at the time I was reading a lot of Leger and thinking about art on public display, and the idea of being able to put something on the bus stops and really actually make people's days better was the most wonderful experience and opportunity. It's a pity, as it would have been a real achievement, like the Belisha beacon. And it's such a solid design – Norman at his modest, anonymous best. It's a matter of daily pleasure to me to watch folk waiting for the bus actively enjoying the colour leap across the busy stop." – Brian, 2020.
In 1996, Brian Clarke and Sir Norman Foster collaborated on a proposal for a series of bus stops with JCDecaux. Externally designed by Foster + Partners, each would feature a stained glass ceiling by Clarke related to the stop’s location, paired with an etched entry on the area from Nikolaus Pevsner's 'The Buildings of England'. In 1999, two were executed, one at Notting Hill Gate and the other on Kensington High Street: the world's first combined bus shelter and toilet with disabled access. Each site-specific stained glass artwork provides a coloured canopy that casts shifting light across the street and shelter.