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?
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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.
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?”
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.
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].
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.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
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.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
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!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
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.