Brutalist Tapestry: Jason Bruges’ Billboard for Change

Brutalist Tapestry
Brutalist Tapestry | © Jason Bruges Studio

Architecture & Design Editor

Multidisciplinary designer Jason Bruges has become synonymous with experiential, groundbreaking installations. His latest artwork, Brutalist Tapestry, is inspired by London’s iconic Barbican Estate, hacking the nearby Beech Street tunnel with a kinetic, digital artwork that not only engages the public, but also acts as a “catalyst for change”.

Culture Trip: How did the idea for Brutalist Tapestry come about?

Jason Bruges: We were asked to create an intervention around this area and we looked at the Beech Street tunnel as an opportunity, as it’s smack-bang between the tube station and the Barbican Estate. It’s sat in a pretty unloved environment, which meant we could test a lot of things and wouldn’t come up against a lot of resistance.

Silk Street Entrance, Barbican Centre

We went on the Barbican’s architectural tour, which was fantastic, and at the end of it we were taken into a loading dock and down this little corridor where we came across a two-storey curved wall that’s hidden away from the public. It was covered in all these different samples of various types of concrete and aggregate, and we thought, “This is amazing!” It revealed the sheer amount of craft that had gone into the brutal part of the architecture that makes up the Barbican. Thousands of craftsmen came over from southern Italy and other parts of Europe to work on the building, using bush hammers and pneumatic tools to create its distinctive, textured look. The entire estate was done by hand and we were fascinated by it. We thought, “Could we create some kind of dynamic texture in the tunnel that responds to this sample wall?”

The Brutalist Tapestry installed in the Beech Street Tunnel

CT: How does Brutalist Tapestry work?

JB: We built these robots that could crawl across the surface and “hack” the cladding, turning it into a living, breathing thing that will constantly evolve, displaying images and text. People will be able to upload a photo on Instagram using the hashtag #Brutalisttapestry, and it could appear in the tunnel later that day – essentially the public become involved in curating the tunnel.

We also hope to give passersby an insight into what’s happening live in the local area around them. The tapestry is choreographed by our team and the Culture Mile staff, so we’re talking to curators from different institutions in the area to find out what events are going on. For example, we’ve taken recently recorded tracks from the Barbican-based London Symphony Orchestra and created something similar to a musical notation that will appear in the tunnel. We’ll also be using a sequencer to actually play what’s in the tunnel, so in theory you could have a musical performance in there and the artwork will respond to what’s happening.

- video -

CT: What are your long-term hopes for the project?

JB: People were originally meant to navigate the Barbican via the upper gardens and the upper walkways. It’s not exactly a pleasant environment and we want people to think about that – hopefully the tapestry can act as that catalyst for change. I know the City of London is looking at alternative ways of getting around the city and improving the quality of the environment. You’ve got the new London Wall Place development, for example, that has reintroduced these beautiful elevated walkways over the roads [an original plan called the City of London Pedway Scheme sought to separate pedestrians from street-level traffic in the 1960s].

The elevated walkway as part of the London Wall Place development

CT: Which other London landmarks have you worked with?

JB: We’ve worked on London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Shard and 10 Downing Street. With the last project we were commissioned by the Great Britain campaign to create a temporary front door for Number 10 to celebrate creativity and technology coming together. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if the door could be see-through?” So we built a timber door out of tulip wood, the same as the original, that enables you to actually see when someone casts a shadow behind the door, kind of like a digital pin-cushion. It’s travelled the world and now sits in the government’s art collection.
DigitalDouble from Jason Bruges on Vimeo.

We’ve also worked on the Natural History Museum’s Life in the Dark exhibition to create three different immersive environments that explore the worlds of nocturnal animals. One of them plunges you into the deep sea where you encounter all these creatures you’ve never seen – angler fish, vampire squids, marine snow – and you can see how they all communicate in the pitch black through bioluminescence. It was amazing working with the scientists at the museum to come up with these theatrical techniques to demonstrate what it’s like to be in a volume of deep sea.
Life In The Dark from Jason Bruges on Vimeo.

Find out more about the project here and see more of Jason Bruges’ work here.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.