|photo: Elaine Kramer|
"Find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful."
Vincent van Gogh January 1874
Van Gogh Walk is a reincarnation of Isabel Street SW9 and is a special outside space in an area of London where many people do not have their own garden. The landscaping celebrates the fact that a world famous artist lived here, and that he enjoyed walking, gardens and nature as a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Planting and features are inspired by Van Gogh's paintings, and quotes from the letters he wrote when he lived here are carved around the edges of the planters. Cypress and olive trees, grasses, and colourful shrubs and perennials were planted in March 2013 and will become established over the coming months and years.
There is still room for informal ball games and there is a new basketball hoop on the carriageway. The developments are already encouraging local people to enjoy our area even more, to be happy walking, cycling or playing outside, and to look out for each other.
Part of the street is now completely closed to motor traffic. In the rest of the area, as well as traditional methods to slow passing cars, there is a focus on encouraging social use, and improving quality of life. Trees, planters, playful sculptures and shared surfaces all signal to drivers that they are guests sharing the space, encouraging careful and considerate driving.
When Van Gogh lived in this area he wrote “I have a wonderful home.” Since the opening of Van Gogh Walk in March 2013 we’ve received lots of tweets and emails from current locals who appreciate living here too. Here's a selection:
"like a square from a small Italian town" SW
"so pretty" L
"proud to live here!" MJ
"what a lovely peaceful and calm haven in the heart of London. I shall sit in the seats with my other half on the way home tonight" KS
"transformed into something of an urban idyll" AO
"giving those who are using their FEET a rare privilege of being top-priority, our children an opportunity to play outside and everyone a peaceful moment in a beautiful setting" LA
"people space in inner London" MW
|photo: Will Jennings|
Click to enlarge these two information panels which are displayed on the street.
We're proud that our area can help tell a part of the story of Van Gogh's life, and that we have a community space to treasure.