Ramblings about entertainment, lifestyle and travel
Last week, Florentijn Hofman’s ‘HippopoThames’ was towed upriver from its build site at the Royal Docks, after passing under London Bridge, past the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. HippopoThames can now be found just off the foreshore in Nine Elms, basking in the shadow of Battersea Power Station. It was launched to celebrate Totally Thames, a 30-day spectacular programme of events in September 2014 that include arts, music and community festivals; colourful regattas; river races; foreshore archaeology, exploration, environmental and educational activities; as well as river-linked events run by charities and voluntary organisations across the 17 London riverside boroughs.
‘HippopoThames’ is an extraordinary 21-metre-long hippo sculpture, and available for three hours a day at low tide throughout September. It can be found at Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall SW8 2DU (at the base of The Tower – One St George’s Wharf) and is free to visit. The installation is semi-immersed in the river and rises and falls with the tide.
Hofman is known for scaled-up sculptures, such as Rubber Duck which has been travelling to several major cities since 2007, from Auckland and Sao Paulo to Hong Kong. Hofman’s sculptures often originate from everyday objects, but the design of Hofman’s UK commission has been inspired by the prehistory of the River Thames, and the hippos that used to inhabit it.
Hofman said, “I am thrilled and excited to be using the Thames as the location of my first UK commission. The purpose of setting my sculptures in the public domain has always been to give members of the public a break from their daily routines, to inspire conversation and to cause astonishment. I hope the location of my sculpture on the Thames will inspire passers-by to engage with its surrounding area of Nine Elms on the South Bank, and to discover the various other events within the Totally Thames programme celebrating London’s river”.
The piece is commissioned by Thames Festival Trust with support from the Mayor of London, the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, Wanda One (UK) and Vauxhall One.
Oh and there’s even a video to show how it was put together (quite impressive!):