Cloud : Meteoros was the first piece of public art to fill the momentous space left by Olympic Rings. Designed by celebrated sculptor and British-born artist Lucy Orta and her husband Jorge, the piece was suspended above the vast Grand Terrace for six months in 2013.
Home to large-scale iconic art installations such as Paul Day’s The Lovers and Martin Jennings’s statue of Betjeman – alongside the much loved Olympic Rings which graced the station last summer – the Grand Terrace at St Pancras has since taken public art to the next level, quite literally.
Inspired by the history and grandeur of the station itself, Lucy + Jorge Orta designed Cloud: Meteoros to unite people inside the station with the world outside. The cloud hovered above the buzz of visitors to St Pancras with figures gently resting on top who echo the passengers waiting on the platforms below. The artists envisioned a Greek Agora – a meeting place – when they conceived the concept of the figures gathering together on the cloud. Sized at 15m wide, 3m high and 3m deep, the installation well and truly made a lasting impact with visitors.
As the first commission in the Terrace Wires series, the work was commissioned by HS1 Ltd - owners of St Pancras International - following on the success of the Olympic Rings which were suspended in the same space in the months up to and then during London 2012 Olympics. The Terrace Wires hangs from the same equipment which held the Olympic Rings in place under the stunning roof of the station.
The Ortas’ artwork was shortlisted by an esteemed Terrace Wires panel, whose members include: Nigel Carrington, Rector at University of the Arts, London, Richard Cook, Editorial Director at Wallpaper Magazine, Evan Davis, journalist and author, Chris Wainwright, Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges, Edmund de Waal, Ceramic Artist and Author and Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive Officer at HS1 Ltd.
Lucy & Jorge Orta
Lucy + Jorge Orta collaborative practice draws upon ecological and social sustainability issues, to create artworks employing a diversity of mediums ranging from drawing, sculpture, installation, couture, painting, silkscreen, photography video and light, as well as staging workshops, ephemeral interventions and performances. Amongst the most emblematic series include: Refuge Wear and Body Architecture: portable minimum habitats bridging architecture and dress; HortiRecycling: the food chain in global and local contexts; 70 x 7 The Meal: the ritual of dining and its role in community networking; Nexus Architecture: alternative modes of establishing the social link; Clouds and OrtaWater: the increasing scarcity of this vital resource and the problems arising from its pollution and corporate control, for which the artists received the Green Leaf Award for artistic excellence with an environmental message, presented by the United Nations Environment Programme in partnership with the Natural World Museum at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway (2007).
Two recent bodies of work include: Antarctica and Amazonia: reflecting on the value of the natural environment to our daily lives and to our survival.
The Ortas’ artwork has been the focus of major solo exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (1995); the Weiner Secession in Vienna (1999); the Barbican Art Gallery in London (2005); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice (2005), the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2006), and the Galleria Continua in Beijing, San Gimignano, and Le Moulin (2007–8); Biennial of the End of the World, Ushuaia, and the Antarctic Peninsula (2007), and the Hangar Bicocca spazio d’arte in Milan (2008); Natural History Museum, London (2010); the Shanghai Biennale and the MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome (2012).
Their work can be found in public and private collections and has been the subject of numerous monographs, notably: Clouds | Nuages. Bologna: Damiani, 2012; Fabulae Romanae, Venice: Marsilio, 2012; Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food Water Life. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011; Light Works. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2010; Antarctica. Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2008; Lucy Orta. Contemporary Artist. London: Phaidon Press, 2003.
Lucy Orta was born in 1966 in Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom. After graduating with an honours degree in fashion-knitwear design from Nottingham Trent University in 1989, Lucy began practicing as a visual artist in Paris in 1991. Lucy was the head of Man and Humanity, a pioneering master program that stimulates socially driven and sustainable design, which she cofounded at the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 2002. She is currently a professor of Art and the Environment at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.
Jorge Orta was born in 1953 in Rosario, Argentina. He studied simultaneously at the faculty of fine arts (1972–79) and the faculty of architeure (1973–80) of the Universidad Nacional de Rosario. Jorge was a lecturer in the faculty of fine arts of the Universidad Nacional de Rosario and a member of CONICET, the Argentinean national council for scientific research, until 1984, when he received a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign and European affairs to pursue a D.E.A. (Diplôme d'études approfondies) at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Lucy + Jorge Orta’s studios are located in central Paris and at Les Moulins in Seine-et-Marne. Les Moulins is not-for-profit cultural regeneration project founded by the artists in 2000 along the Grand Morin River valley to safeguard and transform the former industrial heritage sites of La Laiterie, a former dairy factory, the Moulin de Boissy and the Moulin Sainte-Marie, two paper mills of national historical significance.