Rewilding Westfield: London’s biggest nature-inspired mural

We’re delighted to share with you Graphic Rewilding which goes maximalist in The Village at Westfield London with London’s biggest nature-inspired AR mural. 180m worth of hand drawn illustrations comprising 1160 sqm of design!

Graphic Rewilding have been busy ‘sowing seeds’ to regenerate the upper level of The Village, Westfield London with a vast floral interactive mural, entitled Graphic* Rewilding Westfield.  Using AR for the first time, the visionary artist duo Baker+Borowoski have created an immersive, art-slash-nature experience to inspire Londoners of all ages. Renowned for their creative takeovers of urban spaces (they are also the brainchild behind recent viral sensation Skip House) Graphic Rewilding’s latest installation, their most ambitious and largest yet, comprises numerous eight-metre-high panels, that is 1.5 square km of ever-changing maximalist wildflower meadow-scapes which will wrap around the walls of the vast circular atrium of level one of The Village.

By accessing QR codes on the floor, the bold floral artwork quite literally will ‘come to life’ with augmented reality, to reveal a dynamic abstract meadow, for visitors to wander through. Strategically placed codes act as portals into an awe-inspiring world, of free-floating flowers, swaying grass, hovering bees, dragonflies, and effervescent drifting pollen.

Westfield London’s collaboration with the artists, presents an innovative and playful approach to ‘bring the outside in’, and encourage urban environments to connect with nature, whilst simultaneously improving mental health and wellbeing. Commissioned by Zoe Allen of Artistic Statements, the installation will be open over the summer months from June 7th through to August.

With 75% of Londoners reportedly living with insufficient access to green spaces, together with the knowledge, that mere exposure to pictures of nature can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, Graphic Rewilding were passionate to create vibrant images to address this imbalance. Looking at nature imagery increases activity in the brain regions associated with regulating emotion and attention, as well as helping to increase alpha-wave activity associated with relaxation and meditative states. The sheer scale of the installation and the pastel colour scheme have been designed to evoke feelings of springtime and calm without being overwhelming. It marks a diversion from the colour schemes of previous works, but still retains their signature injection of bold vitality into the urban environment.

“As an artistic counterbalance to this severe lack of green space in cities, I co-founded Graphic Rewilding with artist and producer Catherine Borowski in order to bring nature in to unexpected and often-overlooked urban spaces, and this project helps us take our maximalist approach to another level as our largest artwork to date – nearly 1.5 square km of ever-changing nature imagery. These are our first steps into virtual environments, and they have particular personal resonance, combining my constantly growing passion for nature in art but also Video Games. We want to inspire people to connect and empathise a little more with the natural world, and to find a healing space through these images and experiences.

Furthermore, new artworks are always a brilliant opportunity to explore the natural and cultural history of an area and Shepherd’s Bush has a particularly rich seam. The name may have originated from the use of the common land here as a resting point for shepherds on their way to Smithfield Market in the City of London. Sheep adore clover, dandelions, and buttercups and so in amongst the blousy blooms we’ve included these wildflowers.” Lee Baker, Graphic Rewilding

The aim of the project is to introduce the colour and diversity of nature in an abstract and hyper-real way – inviting viewers to walk through an urban ‘wildflower meadow’. Fuelled by curiosity and the ‘desire to hack people’s happiness’ – the installation is an experiential cacophony of abstract whimsical caricatures, saturated with colour, outlined in black and placed at eye level to stimulate connection with the viewer.

Baker is fascinated by the intersection of art and nature and its positive influence on the mind and body. Nature and nature-inspired imagery have long been known to be beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety. Through his own personal journey and love of art and video games, the artist wanted to explore his biophilic sensibility through developing art, nature, and video-game-inspired technology.  To achieve this, Graphic Rewilding collaborated with experts at True Group to incorporate AR technology into their work. In a world of ‘gamification,’ the artists wanted to show how technological engagement can also be used to create unexpected benefits to health, mood and psychology.

According to Baker, the upper floor of The Village, Westfield London provided the perfect canvas to create the maximalist floral-inspired, immersive installation. In researching the natural and cultural history of the Shepherd’s Bush area they wanted to make a ‘wildflower’ homage that reflected the area’s heritage.  The artists have always been attracted to reimagining and transforming urban spaces and environments. They also wanted to reintroduce a visceral ‘sense’ of nature to the busy West London area to encourage connection and empathy with the natural world.  

“The Village at Westfield London has been the perfect opportunity to work with Graphic Rewilding; with huge 8M ceilings and beautiful undulating architecture – I could just see their incredible work being brought to life in a way that would feel all-encompassing for visitors of all ages…it felt timely to introduce Mother Nature into a retail environment like this. There’s so much detail to their stunningly intricate floral illustrations, the artists and I were excited to bring these to life through an AR integration to engage on an even deeper level. We hope everyone that interacts with the artwork feels uplifted, educated, and inspired by the experience!” Zoë Allen

“At Westfield London, we always strive to create environments that engage and captivate our visitors. Our collaboration with Baker+ Borowoski allows us to seamlessly integrate their immersive and playful art into our spaces to inspire and delight visitors to the centre this summer.” Katie Wyle, General Manager, Westfield London

Photography by Mark Cocksedge / Katie Edwards 


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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