Urbanest – King’s Cross Central

Urbanest – King’s Cross Central

‘Unity’ by Simon Hitchens – As part of the major regeneration programme at Kings Cross Central, Urbanest Properties invited Art Contact to commission a ‘Public Art’ sculpture for the main entrance to the newly designed building by Glenn Howells architect, accommodation for students which completed September 2013.

The redevelopment of the former King’s Cross Goods Yard, now known as King’s Cross Central, owes much of its appeal to the proud industrial heritage which formed it.

Simon Hitchens was commissioned to create this graphic sculpture which visually references the heavy engineering used in the area’s industrial past. Unity’s form is suggestive of two large and redundant cogged wheels.

The granite element symbolises the robust building materials used in the old Goods Yards, where commodities were moved about by rail and cart. The more technologically challenging blue resin element hints both at the Regents Canal and the, important part it played in the transport of goods, but also the inspirational, state of the art future being built at King’s Cross Central.

The simple graphic form of the sculpture can be seen as a stylised letter X, but also articulates the unity between two separate yet co-dependant bodies: a balance of essential opposites and a celebration of progress across the generations.

Download Case Study


  • Object – Source, select and commission public art sculpture for Kings Cross Central
  • Client – Urbanest
  • Sector – Student Housing
  • Location – King’s Cross, London
  • Status – Completed


  • Consultation
  • Strategy
  • Planning
  • Community Arts
  • Art Selection
  • Commissioning
  • Project Management
  • Art Handling
  • Transportation
  • Installation

''As part of our development at King's Cross student accommodation we had a section 106 commitment to install Public Art. We wanted the art to reflect the heritage of the site, our commitment to quality and stand the test of time. We also needed to ensure our partners in the project KCCLP, Argent and Camden Planning department were equally satisfied that the Public Art added to the environment. I approached Virginia at Art Contact and she immediately put me at ease with the whole process whilst keeping all interested parties engaged. I have to say I enjoyed the whole process. After visiting the site, Art Contact carried out in depth research, reviewing the site and its history, in order to establish a brief to present to selected artists. Their research ensured that the final result could be fully integrated into the site and reflect heritage. Throughout Virginia sustained constant communication ensuring that we were fully informed at all times as well as liaising between ourselves and the artist from start to finish. We are delighted with the result and would be happy to recommend Art Contact as an Art Consultant and Commissioning Agent for art commissions.''

Angus Kearin Head of Development - Urbanest