Virginia Woolf inspired installation marks City of London's Culture Mile

The Virginia Woolf-inspired ‘wayfinding’ installation will soon be in place along the City of London’s Culture Mile, the north-south route connecting the Millennium Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London and the Barbican Centre. 

The installation - named ‘Around the Corner’ - is inspired by a quotation from Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room: ‘The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?’

Each word of the second sentence (What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?) will be placed at a strategic location along the route to act as both a way finding tool and cultural attractor. 

inspired by virginia woolf and the history of london

The scheme, designed by KHBT, the studio of architects Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler, was the winning proposal in the City of London Corporation’s competition for concepts to ‘animate and transform’ the route by day and night. In KHBT’s words:

‘The proposal is inspired by the history of London as a whole and 20th-century literature specifically: a time when the City of London was starting to thrive, and many writers focused on the subject of an enigmatic London. Virginia Woolf was part of a group of modernist writers that brought interesting changes of unusual narration to literature. Authors began to tell stories in a way that reflected the fragmented and disconnected world.

‘The proposal seeks to create a new emotional connection that allows the visitor to explore an otherwise overlooked thoroughfare and its cultural destinations. The font is inspired by the very first edition of the book in 1922, directly linking the installation back to the historical periods that inform each corner of the City.’


The design team picked the golden colour so that the words glow at night when the letters are picked out by spotlights. In addition “the colour gold is a recurring theme in the City” and golden decorative detailing to be found on many significant buildings, for example the golden statue of Justice on the Old Bailey and the Royal Exchange’s gilded grasshopper weather vane.

Following approval of the scheme by City Councillors on November 11th, installation of the project has now begun. ‘Around the Corner’ should be in place for the scheduled ‘opening night’ of Wednesday 18th December, and will remain in place until May 2020. 

I’m looking forward to walking it.

(Images: Artists impressions by KHBT)

For more information about Culture Mile events see https://www.culturemile.london/events/around-the-corner

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