Bicester's Crows and Sofas

Written by Jeremy Wilton on .

Sofa Wallpaper Context 2Bicester is set to gain new street art when Pioneer Square is opened on 10 July.

Take a look upwards and you'll be able to see a gathering of crows alighting on stainless steel arches around the development - including one bird set on stealing the "N" from Crown Walk.
Or if you get weary, how about resting your feet on a couple of Chesterfield sofas - made from bricks.
Artist Rodney Harris and the team of Phil Bews and Diane Gorvin have provided the inspired works.
Bristol-based Rodney Harris is most known for brick sculpture. The commission in Bicester is one of his largest to date. The 75 metre carved and painted "wallpaper" wall and two hand carved brick sofas took a year to create.
He won the commission with an innovative technique he developed to apply a permanent wallpaper pattern along the full length of the wall on Manorsfield Road together with the brick sofas. These artworks are near the bus stops to greet anyone arriving in or leaving Bicester by bus.
Philip Bews and Diane Gorvin have collaborated in the creation of over a hundred public art commissions. They created four crows out of bronze or glass and placed them at viewpoints around the development, each representing an association with Bicester:

• a crow carries a gilded N – a play on the word "crown"
• a crow taking off from its perch displays circular RAF insignia on each wing, signifying the town's association with the air force
• two kissing birds are covered in a lace pattern showing the association with lace making.

Cherwell District Council's leader, Cllr Barry Wood, said: "Public art is meant to be a talking point, but remember that in the future there will be much less to see because developer contributions for public art are now being diverted to help support the police."

The new street art has been funded by Sainsbury’s to create visual interest around Pioneer Square as a new community asset for the future.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: "It is always nice to see something unexpected when you go somewhere new for the first time. The new public art in Pioneer Square is certainly different and creates visual interest."