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The Horniman partners with the National Trust for exciting new project

This year, to mark eighty years since the first protected views were proposed, the National Trust, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and Bompas & Parr will collaborate on a new installation, ‘The Imminent Diorama’, which will sit atop one of London’s finest unprotected views of the city at the Horniman.

The interactive installation will allow the public to see this breathtaking view as it is now, and as it could appear over the next eighty years. An open-call invitation for architects, artists, graphic designers, and illustrators to contribute their vision has been launched by Bompas & Parr and closes on Tuesday 31 October. The installation will highlight the delight and importance of views to Londoners, and their current lack of protection in certain areas of London. 

While a total of twenty-seven London views hold some form of designation, only thirteen hold Protected Vista status. Nine of those are from north of the river, with just four from south of the river, at Richmond, Greenwich, Blackheath, and City Hall. This disparity, says Joe Watson, Creative Director of National Trust London, "is largely a result of historic power vested in wealthier parts of the city. Breath-taking views of our city are life-affirming. While they may not cost anything, they are of value to everyone, so we’re asking Londoners to tell us which views are most important to them for us to celebrate and, in the future, perhaps protect."

  • The Horniman Bandstand, The interactive installation will allow the public to see this breathtaking view as it is now, and as it could appear over the next eighty years
    The interactive installation will allow the public to see this breathtaking view as it is now, and as it could appear over the next eighty years

The project will be accompanied by a number of short films by south London actors,authors and activists sparking debate about the value of views, the impact they have had on the city, and also asking whether protected status is the right way to create the city Londoners want for the future – or whether the issue is one of better design and the location of new tall buildings. The public can join the debate by tweeting images of their favourite unprotected views or comments about the future of views in London @NTLovesLondon

The views of the public will be considered by a panel of experts and will form part of the National Trust’s response to the Mayor of London’s proposal when his new London Plan goes out for consultation. This is a chance for Londoners to influence the future of their London.

The project is part of a wider National Trust initiative on urban views and urban design, which will run over the coming year and will include an exhibition and publication about the history of London cityscapes from Canaletto to the Camera-phone. 

‘The Imminent Diorama’ will be at the Horniman Museum and Gardens from Monday 13 to Sunday 26 November and is free to visit. The installation is suitable for adults and children alike. 

Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr says,

'The Imminent Diorama’, will bring together contrasting artistic points of view in one engaging, thought-provoking and interactive installation, allowing members of the public to ‘leaf through’ the final collection in front of the actual view from the Horniman’s Gardens. We’re looking forward to receiving a wide range of entries that challenge the importance of protecting views.

Janet Vitmayer, CBE, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens comments,

The view from the Horniman’s Gardens is a source of pleasure for our hundreds of thousands of visitors, and a beautiful backdrop to so many community events – from live music on the Bandstand to carnivals and our Farmers’ Market. But more than that, it’s also a visible and vital connection with London, an ever-present reminder that we are part of this vibrant and diverse city.

Download the full brief for artists.