May 20, 2019
Work is under way to transform a dull railway bridge underpass in Wandsworth into a colourful ‘Happy Street’.
London designer Yinka Ilori won the Wandsworth Council commission after consultation with local residents and his design was chosen by an expert panel as part of London Festival of Architecture.
In collaboration with Network Rail, the fresh new look for the Thessaly Road underpass in SW8 is part of a package of improvement works for the area which will provide a better environment for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
The ‘Happy Street’ design has taken inspiration from 16 different types of happiness and includes a rainbow of colours, referring to the bright colours seen during sunsets over the nearby River Thames.
Before work could begin to decorate the rail bridge, old paint had to be removed, corroded steel treated and then primer applied. The colour is now being painted onto the underside of the bridge.
The next stage involves installing enamel panels over the walls to create a new durable and reflective surface.
Running alongside the work, Ilori has a solo exhibition at StudioRCA. Types of Happiness is inspired by the Happy Street bridge artwork, with colours and patterns decorating each of his bespoke chairs. The exhibition also features a scale model of the bridge design and a large-scale drawing of Happy Street, coloured in by Ilori and members of the local Nine Elms community.