‘Eye-catching’ artwork with a nod to the town’s seaside heritage has been installed in the new development of affordable homes in Westbourne.
Developer Stonewater built the two-bedroom flats in Clarendon Road, Westbourne, to help meet affordable housing needs in the area.
The housing association commissioned a local artist to draw inspiration from the area’s history to create the metal sculpture outside the 19-home scheme.
Bournemouth artist Gary Smith was commissioned to design and produce an attractive yet low maintenance work of art.
The resulting installation commemorates a period in local history when 19th century writer Robert Louis Stevenson lived in the Westbourne area.
The Scottish novelist and poet lived there with his wife from 1884 to 1887, when he published many of his best-known works, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Gary’s sculpture, titled ‘Sailing Through Time’, was designed to blend historical and modern eras with its combination of highly polished stainless steel and weathered rust colored corten steel.
It features an old map roll, a nautical sphere, and an open book engraved with phrases and images from Treasure Island, topped with contemporary-looking stylized sails in reference to the novel’s ship, the Hispaniola.
Gary said: “When designing the room, I wanted to create something that not only referenced the history of the area, but was also in harmony with the modern building behind it.
“So my inspiration was to blend the old with the new, bringing the book to life for current and future generations. Hopefully families at these new properties will enjoy the sculpture and it might even inspire their children to read the book and learn more about Stevenson’s work.
The development, backed by £827,000 in funding from Homes England, was built to provide much needed affordable housing for local people.
Naomi Mooney, Project Manager at Stonewater, said: “There is a dire need for affordable housing for local people across England, including coastal areas such as Bournemouth, so we are delighted to be playing our part in responding. to this need with these new houses.
“Stonewater has a long-standing commitment to creating a sense of place through public art that reflects local history while promoting community spirit in our developments – and the striking ‘Sailing Through Time’ sculpture achieves this.
“There were many rave reviews about the artwork, not only from our new residents, but also from passers-by and other members of the local community.”