Jubilee Place mosaics form dock history jigsaw

Mosaic142WEBBBY.jpgShould you be embarking on a quest for retail therapy in Jubilee Place Mall this week, perhaps take time to tear your eyes from the glittering sale goodies to focus on the floor.

Decorating the shiny surface on both shopping tiers is a series of mosaics designed by Emma Biggs.

Back when Jubilee Place opened in 2004, Emma, 56, created 12 tiles to adorn the Wharf Walk passage in what is now known as its upper tier of retail.

And with the grand arrival of 21 new brands and the re-jig of a couple of pieces of her artwork to the new, underground passage, the mum-of-three put her thinking cap back on to conjure up four further designs.

"Canary Wharf Group wanted something that was related to the docks and trading," said Emma, who also takes on work as an artist with husband Matthew.

"So I got to look back at my previous work and look up more facts. I was able to go to the Museum of London Docklands, which hadn't been open when I'd researched before.

"I had a good old snoop around and found facts I thought were interesting and put these ideas in the new panels."

The tiled arrivals have been unveiled in stages with Scent the final addition.Created primarily of marble teamed with smalti, a handmade Venetian glass, the themed Wood, Wool and Peppercorn tiles centred on the array of goods which would have been transported through the docks.

Mosaic220pxWEBBBY.jpgPinpointing moments of history - such as the transportation of cinnamon, laying of wood flooring in the capital or the sheep fleece set to be transported to the north - was a "patterny" and pictorial process.

This allowed the latest designs to maintain continuity with the existing artwork while also retaining a sense of place.

The mum-of-three said her fourth and final creation took a different thematic approach.
"There was one exception that's very fascinating and about the fact the lightermen went up and down the river on boats," she said.

"They knew where they were on the river by the smells that came from the warehouses and water.

"If it was really foggy, and they couldn't see where they were, there might have been smells from the brewery, or fish, and I thought that was an interesting enough fact to deserve a panel."

With her designs - which took her six months - now complete and the mall open, Emma said she felt a sense of satisfaction.

"I've really enjoyed it," she said. "I was involved from right before Jubilee Place Mall was built and everyone on site was incredibly kind.

"It was a real pleasure to come back and meet some of the original Canary Wharf contractors - it feels like it was a bit of a coming home, and I do have that sense of personal involvement."

Go to emmabiggsmosaic.net or emmabiggsandmatthewcollings.net.

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