London’s Nine Elms Lane, which is famously named after its tree inhabitants, is celebrating the history of the area’s nine elm trees this festive season with a light projection of elm trees onto buildings around the area.
From today (13 December) until 21 December, detailed tree drawings by artist Pippa Taylor will come to life each evening after dark – their silvery branches transforming old and new buildings around the neighbourhood.
The animated illuminations, which have been created by artist Jony Easterby will be projected on to buildings around and on New Union Square, ROSE community clubroom, Elm Quay Court on the Thames river path and six other locations.
Artist Pippa Taylor, who hand-drew the nine elm trees said: “My inspiration comes from the beauty of nature and the deep sadness that comes with it – as in these times we can’t take this beauty for granted anymore. The drawing process for me is always accompanied with music, when drawing the nine elms the structure and character of traditional Irish music played into their creation.”
At 227 hectares, Nine Elms on the South Bank is the largest regeneration zone in central London. The transformation of the area includes a green and walkable district with plenty of public space and outdoor areas. A new section of Thames River Path will run through and host an array of riverside shops, cafes, restaurants, art spaces, parks and public squares. It will complement a new Nine Elms Park that will sweep through the centre of the district, creating green corridor between Battersea Power Station and Vauxhall Cross.
The large-scale light installations, which are free to visit, are a festive spectacle suitable for all ages offers a unique way to interact with nature and heritage in a busy riverside location.
Jony Easterby said: “The elms of Nine Elms are a testament to natures resilience and a symbol of hope that we can rebuild ecologies that face extinction through human knowledge and perseverance. The symbolism of these elm trees at this time in our ecological crisis has never been so important as we face new complex challenges to our arboricultural heritage and ecosystems.
“This project allows us to create new connections between hand drawn and digital arts, the concrete and the organic, as well as highlighting the essential role that trees must play in all our lives for our survival on this planet which we share.
“For me, the festive season is a really great chance to celebrate trees. From the iconic Spruce Chrimbo tree to the Holly. It’s all about trees for me at this time of year and lighting up trees is a big part of my work in shows, so we are going to light up the actual elms with some great wintery white lighting.”
The Nine Elms place name has been traced back to the 17th century and nine elm trees were known to be standing on Nine Elms Lane in the 1840s. The elms are thought to have been replanted several times since then.
In January 2019, the Nine Elms community re-planted the last two elm trees which had been missing since one tree was blown down in a storm and one was felled due to disease.
The Nine Elms light projection runs from 13-21 December between 5pm and 9pm. For more information, visit the Nine Elms website
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com