Partnership / Coal Drops Yard: Double Take

Last chance to see Double Take, It’s Nice That’s gang of sculptural interludes

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There’s just one week left to go and see Double Take, It’s Nice That’s sculptural takeover at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross. Made with spatial designers Isabel + Helen, the five-strong gang of giant colourful characters have been created to cleverly nestle among the contours of Heatherwick’s architecture. Wander round the shops and restaurants and you’ll suddenly feel surrounded by big friendly faces… belonging to one of the sculptures, which – due to their slim profiles – only manifest themselves when viewed from a certain angle, making you stop and look again.

Our senior creative Ali Hanson describes the idea behind the sculptures in our feature exploring the making of Double Take: “To create a ‘Double Take’ moment for each sculpture, we designed them to catch a person’s eye as they walked into that particular space within Coal Drops Yard…we had to learn about how people visit a space and what could grab their attention.” The results have been surprising visitors ever since. “From the moment we placed the sculptures,” Ali continues, “even as we were applying the finishing touches to the paintwork, visitors were stopping, having a closer look and taking a photo.”

Each character has a different expression, ranging from the shocked yellow face stretching the ground floor and mezzanine below the “kissing roof”, to the smiling purple face on the Eastern Viaduct. Some are more hidden, such as the green character stretching to hold up a viaduct, where others are more prominent, such as the wide, wondering Eyes in the Archways.

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Meanwhile we also commissioned six animation directors from around the world to take over the Coal Drops Yard Instagram account, just as the sculptures have commandeered the physical space. We briefed these animators to each create an animated loop to reflect the playful spirit of the project, to celebrate their own style, and to respond to the history and heritage of Coal Drops Yard as a destination. See all the animations, and hear from the animators on their concepts, in our dedicated feature here.

Make sure you don’t miss the installations before the gang departs on 6 November – get yourself down to Coal Drops Yard see if you can spot all five.

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Arina Shabanova: Double Take by It’s Nice That for Coal Drops Yard

Coal Drops Yard is a new shopping and restaurant district in London’s King’s Cross. Coal Drops Yard was originally established in 1850 to handle the eight million tonnes of coal delivered to the capital each year, and was latterly the location of nightclubs Bagley’s and The Cross. The area reopened in October 2018, reinvented by the acclaimed Heatherwick Studio, which has interwoven a contemporary design with the surviving structures and rich ironwork of the original Victorian coal drops.

Located within a reimagined set of historic buildings and arches directly adjacent to Granary Square and Regent’s Canal, Coal Drops Yard houses over 50 stores from a unique mix of established and emerging brands, along with cafes, bars, top independent restaurants and new public spaces.