Sculpture honouring Becontree Estate forms centrepiece of east London housing and workspace development

A two-metre-wide artwork by Grayson Perry that honours Dagenham’s inter-war Becontree Estate has been installed as the focus of an Apparata Architects-designed housing and workspace project in east London.

The practice’s A House for Artists in Barking town centre provides flexible living and working space for 12 artists and their families. Under a scheme run by Create London and funded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the artists commit to delivering free creative programmes for the neighbourhood in return for reduced rent.

Construction of the building completed last year, but Perry’s artwork – titled Inspiration Lives Here – has only just been installed in the complex’s central courtyard. The Corten-steel sculpture, which is part hand-painted, takes the form of a row of Becontree houses. It also serves as a light to illuminate the courtyard.

“This lamp is a small monument to social housing,” Perry said. “I spent half of my childhood living in such a house and most of my extended family lived out their lives in a council house.

5. Grayson Perry _Inspiration Lives Here_. Commissioned by Create London. Photography_ Thierry Bal (2022)

Source: Thierry Bal

Grayson Perry’s Inspiration Lives Here artwork, which has been installed at Apparata Architects’ House for Artists in Barking

“In a time of unaffordable housing here in the UK a council house seems like an unattainable dream. I wanted the lamp to have an air of nostalgia for a time when people tinkered in sheds and kids ran wild, when the Becontree Estate was the home of wartime heroes and Ford workers. The pale green Ford Anglia was my father’s first car.”

As part of its extensive regeneration work, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has sought to position itself as an affordable option for artists priced out of inner London.

A House for Artists 1

Source: Ståle Eriksen

A House for Artists in Barking, by Apparata Architects