The ‘new’ classically enhanced shopping complex at Southgate might have made a commercial ‘nod’ in the direction of Bath’s Georgian past but nowhere was it part of the planning brief – it would seem – that something artistic should be done to humanize its empty spaces – especially where shopping avenues converge on Southgate Place.
Indeed – just recently – the only piece of public art – the Bath-stone torso of British swimmer Mark Foster – was moved away from the approaches to this modern mecca of a market place – to hide behind a wall at the City of Bath College.
Planting a tree in this space is great but can we hope to see something more permanent than the occasional new car promotion to soften and humanize this area.
Commercial sterilisation l call it.
In a city of running waters – both hot and cold – this would be an ideal spot for a fountain. I am amazed B&NES didn’t make the provision of public art part of the planning permission.
This is private land with security people to stop ‘visitors’ – aka shoppers – from chaining their bikes to railings or holding picnics on the paving slabs – so they could keep an eye on any interference with the installations.
I must say the sculptured torso suffered no damage that l am aware of during its brief sojourn nearby.
A contemporary fountain installation would be fine. A competition for artists maybe?
Just remember we are historically the city of Aqua Sulis – the waters of the goddess of health and wisdom.
Around our city are slogans extolling the virtues of water being ‘best’ – so why don’t we start celebrating the fact!