James Latham and HI-MACS cast a positive light on mental illness with interactive sculptures

Two five-metre-tall interactive sculptures, designed by multi-award winning British designer, Steuart Padwick will be erected in King’s Cross for this year’s Designjunction event which runs from 19 to 22 September as part of London Design Festival.

The giant cuboid figures have been created in support of mental health anti-stigma initiative, Time To Change.

They have been skilfully formed using Douglas Fir to convey warmth and humanity, using off-site construction technologies but it is the imposing, interactive ‘concrete’ blocks – representing their ‘emotional burdens’ – that truly bring these dramatic, public art spectacles to life.  The cubes have been manufactured from HI-MACS natural acrylic stone, supplied by UK distributor, James Latham and fabricated by Preston based, We Are Limitless Limited (WALL).

When a visitor approaches one of the figures, a proximity sensor is triggered and the ‘burden’ will appear to crack, releasing a glow of light.  Then, because the sculpture’s burden has been reduced by engaging with the visitor approaching them, it begins to talk, emitting poignant, uplifting phrases, which have been written and recorded by an eclectic group of poets, writers and mental health ambassadors – all reminding us that, through communication, the weight so many of us carry can be lessened.

As a key sponsor and supporter of the project, James Latham is encouraging people to post images of themselves interacting with the figures across its various social media platforms using (#makeitlathams), with a prize of an exclusive, bespoke HI-MACS seat, designed by Steuart Padwick, for the best one.

Commenting on his material selection, Steuart Padwick said: “I wanted a quality material that was easy to work with, looked like concrete, could be machined to let light through and was outdoor friendly, and James Latham recommended HI-MACS which has proved to be the perfect solution.”

Extensively used in architectural projects of all kinds, HI-MACS solid surfaces offer a robust, smooth, non-porous and visually seamless surface which can be backlit and thermoformed to give a striking appearance.

Stuart Devoil, group head of marketing at James Latham said: “This has been a unique project to be involved with and one with such a positive message. I can’t wait to see people interacting with these monumental figures. As one of the UK’s most recognised suppliers of cutting-edge materials to designers and architects, this was an ideal platform to showcase this innovative and versatile product.”

Mariana Fredes, LG Hausys, added: “With a long track record of working closely together as distributor and manufacturer, James Latham and LG Hausys are regularly involved in design events across Europe. We are delighted to work together again, this time providing the signature ‘concrete’ blocks, made from our natural acrylic stone HI-MACS, for Steuart Padwick’s thought provoking installation”

For all visitors to the London Design Festival and Designjunction, James Latham is holding a one-day HI-MACS walk-in workshop on 19th September at their Design Showroom in the Business Design Centre, Islington. Here, visitors can learn more about the product and witness inspirational demonstrations of thermoforming, sublimation and more.

Designjunction, which runs from 19 – 22 September, is part of the annual London Design Festival, which connects the world’s most renowned design brands, with the world’s leading architects, interior designers, specifiers and buyers.

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