A place of landings is a narrative placemaking project for a retail development that revolves around a grade II listed art deco RAF control tower in Kent. The site, previously West Malling airfield was an RAF base active during the second world war and through the 50′s and 60′s when it stopped being operational in 1969. With a rich heritage it continued to be used during the 70′s and 80′s for air displays and as a film set for productions including the TV series Wish you were here and famously as a set for The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film.
The scheme takes into consideration the unique heritage of the site – to create an experience that is educational and surprising – connecting visitors and communities to the place. Working with local writers from Future Creative, rich narratives were harvested and gathered from the memories and experiences of the community, past and present, along with contemporary views and connections from the residents today – delivering stories that are moving, funny and inspiring.
Fabrication techniques pioneered and installed by millimetre, the interventions include:
• A seven metre diameter roundel made from cast steel with stencilled narratives – the inner circle showing some dialect slang language used by RAF pilots – the outer ring are memories and stories from the community that lived, worked and played during the years the airfield was active
• A second seven meter diameter roundel (cast steel) with a spiral of personal narratives with a bespoke seating design by millimetre in the centre
• Lines of ‘flying’ wavy texts along walkways of historical memories and contemporary views as ‘voices’, poetry and expressions. A couple of narrative straight lines set to 1:100 runway width scale and set following its original direction
• ‘Brass rubbing’ roundels – 12 in total
(11 planes and The Beatles’ Magical
Mystery Tour bus) – 250mm diameter each
depicting a plan drawing of a plane that
was resident at the airfield – Spitfire,
Hurricane, Lysander for example, with
children’s kenning poetry that could be
associated with each plane (kennings
= two-word description poetry e.g. ‘tail
wagger’ = dog)
The project was commissioned by Futurecity as part of a place strategy for Liberty Property Trust UK.
Photography: from image no. 26 – Joe Clark