Featured by Jesidicax, Sculptor Rona Smith has created a large new 50-foot cast bronze artwork in the heart of Paddington, inspired by travel architecture. The permanent sculpture was unveiled at a private ceremony on Monday 27th June 2022.
Rona Smith said, “Since public transport networks play such an integral role in our daily lives, I found inspiration for Abiona near Paddington Station. This commission was an opportunity to revitalize the complex infrastructure of rail travel and the paths or ‘tracks’ that connect us to our work, community and relationships. My purpose is not only to mention the scale and history of these structures but also to draw attention to the physical human connection that they facilitate.
The form of the sculpture is raised directly from the artist’s line drawing on the Paddington railway track that goes back to an extinct point and is sketched on paper, a swaying pen that gives the sculpture its biological quality. Rona explains, ‘The fluid nature of the line gives the art figure a personal and humane feeling and the sculpture moves away from the walls like the pages of a sketch book.’
Abiona is named after the Roman goddess of outward travel who protects travelers, especially children, and ensures safe passage. Rona says, ‘The sculpture plays with vision, seen to extend beyond the frame of the building and into the sky, giving the feeling of taking off. The title Abeona ushers in an epic journey and reminds us of the thrill of a child’s first step. ‘
Abeona’s dynamic light is inspired by the movement of a slow-moving train to a station and transfers shadows across the sculpture. This gently moving shadow play suggests the careful movement of a pen across the paper, which reflects the concept of artwork as a three-dimensional drawing.
The image of the railway shows the use of travel centers, including bus stops, stations and airports, during an unexpected greeting at JCDecaux’s UK Central London office. The liquid form of the sculpture complements the sheer simplicity of the architecture, its free-form quadrangles echoing the window grids of adjacent walls. As the sculpture moves away from the building and hangs in space, its foundations disappear. The work demonstrates impressive engineering that gives a lightness that is unexpected due to the required firmness of such a structure.
Abeona is an ambitious work that was first envisioned in 2017 and created in 2020 against the backdrop of the epidemic. Directed by JCDecaux, the work was carried out in collaboration with Fabricator Pangolin Edition, engineers Rambler and Jenkins Potter, and lighting designer Spears Major.
Jean-Franোয়াois DeCaxAbiona is an important new London sculpture by Rona Smith that we are proud to commission and is home to Paddington, JCDecaux UK which has recently gone through the full development of Jean-Michel Wilmot. The Goddess of Travel and Rail Inspired by architecture, this thought-provoking sculpture launches as it returns to its post-epidemic journey and underlines the power of art and design to improve the public sphere. Improving the city view through media spaces that provide valuable resources for the city and its people, in line with JCDecaux’s founding principle of “always, always serving community”.
Design excellence is at the heart of JCDecaux’s business, working with world-renowned architects to create products and services that improve life in cities with advertising funding – including bus shelters, public defibrillators and bike sharing schemes.
Sustainable design underpins all JCDecaux activities. In the UK, JCDecaux has partnered with Jaha Hadid Design to launch an award-winning sculpture billboard The Kensington. Creating beautiful street furniture that enhances city views in the UK and around the world, JCDecaux has worked with Foster + Partners for Kensington Bus Shelter with touch screens and USB chargers.
Future-oriented design that also respects tradition is at the heart of JCDecaux’s approach. JCDecaux’s West London office (1930 listed building) won an RIBA Regional Award and the RIBA Crown Estate Conservation Architecture Award, following an exceptional design by Foster + Partners. For JCDecaux’s central London office, Wilmotte & Associés redesigned two original 1970s buildings, creating a durable and streamlined building that meets 21st century demand, ensuring that the building complements the surrounding conservation area.
Abeona’s introduction to JCDecaux’s central London office in Paddington continues this vision, combining art and design with this existing new work by Rona Smith.