Double Sided River – James Wignall explores the dual nature of the Thames

Double Sided River (cast iron) - James Wignall

I think I first saw James Wignall‘s Double Sided River as part of a sustainable design show at the RCA alongside his award-winning Port of London Authority.

Port of London Authority makes a point about global warming, showing how the impact of a four degree temperature rise would theoretically have on London’s skyline. Vertical skyscrapers being replaced with horizontal ones functioning as bridges across the expanded river and offering a cityscape to be read from above rather than within.

Double Sided River is a piece smaller in scope but with a compact beauty and simplicity which evokes the more complex work.

This piece is the intersection of two maps. In section it shows The River Thames as it currently is. In plan it shows the Thames floodplain. The resulting geometry creates the double sided river.

Double Sided River (bronze) - James Wignall

In essence, the ribbon of metal (for it exists in both cast iron and bronze) communicates the potential for both expansion and disaster which runs through the centre of the UK’s capital city. It reminded me of a John Betjeman quote: “A heaving world, half-land, half-flood / It rose and sank as ripples rolled”.

Double Sided River - James Wignall