A huge maze of giant snaking metal tubes have appeared on top of a tube station in central London, as part of an ongoing art project in the area.
Called Slackwater, it’s an artwork by Holly Hendry, that was created for the roof terrace above Temple tube station, and is also her first public commission in London.
Constructed with industrial-scale ducting, the pipes curl around electricity spools and over casts of inflated boat fenders, it’s said to represent the ebb and flow of the nearby River Thames. The location, on top of the Temple tube station, refers to how the Embankment was built as part of Bazalgette’s giant sewer network.
We’re told that the pipe’s pastel tones and exaggerated forms are drawn from ancient depictions of floods and rivers, and 19 th century microscopic images of Thames water, described as ‘monster soup’, a bacterial slurry teeming with surreal, animated forms.
I can’t help but feel that they are surface representations of the mass of sewer pipes that lie hidden beneath the streets, or if you prefer, the air conditioning ducts that snake around modern office buildings.
…and would be helpful in parts of the hot deep tube network. Tubes cooling tubes.
Apart from the artist’s explanation, really, it’s just a joyful installation that undeniably makes a person smile when they see it.
There are loads of nooks and crannies to wander around and get those favourite selfies in, and it does somewhat reward exploring the many different angles you can create with the maze of pipes.
The Artist’s Garden is on the roof of Temple tube station and is free to visit. To find it, there are stairs up to the roof above the tube station from Temple Place — turn left when leaving the tube station, and walk around to the roof.
It’s open daily from 8am with seasonal closing times at dusk and will be in place until September 2024.
The installation is by theCoLAB in partnership with Westminster City Council.