Pop Brixton

We Can Be Heroes: Brixton Design Trail

It's London Design Festival! Brixton's been officially dubbed a 'Design District', one of seven areas that will be celebrating the festival with concentrated programmes of design activity and events. Under the theme ‘Rebel Rebel’ (paying homage to one of the world’s design icons, David Bowie),

We've erected 3 evolving, art and architectural installations at Pop and the huge lightning bolt, adorned in origami, going up the ramp to our greenhouse may have caught your eye... 'WE CAN BE HEROES’ has a real interactive element to it and we encourage you to get inspired and involved!

Behind the installation is local Brixtonite, Sam Furness, who's on a year long creative mission to ensure that no spare time is wasted time. Throughout 2016, he's set himself a unique creative challenge, picking a new topic each month to discover and immerse himself in. 'We can be heroes' belongs to this project, titled '12 x 16'. We caught up with Sam, to find out why he wants to recruit Pop punters into his origami army..

Hello Sam! Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up sticking a huge lightning bolt in our greenhouse?!

Hey! So first off, I don't consider myself an artist by traditional standards but I do have very strong creative ambitions driven by my musical nature. After leaving university and being a musician for several years, I started working more on the management side of music. After a few years of working with musicians and bands, I realised my own creative energy was building up - with no where to go and that's how I ended up embarking on my year long project 12 x 16 - which in turn has lead me to putting on this installation 'We can be heroes' for Brixton Design Trail.

Tell us a little bit more about 12 x 16.

After feeling like I was in a creative rut, I started asking myself lots of questions like 'What can I do to channel this?’ 'What am I good at? 'What could I do?. Then I realised....these questions were actually just futile, what stupid questions to be asking myself - especially in my mid twenties! That's really how 12 x 16 started, I set myself a challenge, and scribbled down a mission statement: 'To find something new each month to discover'. and see how far down the rabbit hole you can go creatively if you simply have a focus.

So how did 12 x 16 lead to 'We can be heroes'?

The night before the world found out David Bowie had died, I was learning to make Origami cranes at home as part of January's Origami project. I was inspired by the overwhelming flood of personal written and floral tributes laid at the David Bowie mural in Brixton since his passing. There’s a legend in Japanese history that says "I will write ‘peace’ on your wings, and you will fly all over the world", meaning that your wishes shall be granted and flown into the ether if written on the wings of origami birds.

So how can people who visit Pop Brixton get involved with 'We Can Be Heroes'?

In this installation, people (anyone and everyone!) are invited take a sheet of paper and write a private message to a hero in their lives. This will then be folded up into a piece of origami and used to fill the big lightning bolt frame. Each piece of origami added is a personal tribute and will contribute to the growing paper garden on the wall over the week. So please, I encourage you to participate and tell me who your own personal hero is! The only thing remaining is what to do with all the doves after London Design

The first recruits to Sam's origami army were children from Kids Kreate, a regular workshop at Pop Brixton run by volunteer artists who encourage children in creating & making things, gaining skills and taking their finished art home. Sam went along to their session last weekend, as a resident artist and taught the children a basic origami pattern, who then became the first ones to contribute to the installation.

The first recruits to Sam's origami army were children from Kids Kreate, a regular workshop at Pop Brixton run by volunteer artists who encourage children in creating & making things, gaining skills and taking their finished art home. Sam went along to their session last weekend, as a resident artist and taught the children a basic origami pattern, who then became the first ones to contribute to the installation.