The 'Histree' is a site specific public art commission and seating area located in Littlemore, Oxford, UK.
The brief, set by a local steer group, was to design a contemporary shelter that reflected the local history of the area.
The design outcome based its form on a tree, the seating area lay as the roots, attached to them are the branches and attached to that is the canopy.
The tree design was chosen as a reminder of the many planted by John Henry Newman (1801-1890) who founded the tiny hamlet of "Little moor" devoid of trees in 1834. In total, he planted 4,506 types of trees in the area.
Throughout the trees surface, a technique of engraving is used to inscribe images to help tell the story of Littlemore. A total of 48 engraved illustrations are on the tree, depicting past events, local people, diverse employment and the listed buildings that belong to Littlemore through out history.
Local history including the evidence of a number of Roman kilns and pottery discovered in the area to William Herscel, who lived in locally and was the first to identify and use uniqueness of fingerprinting can be found and more as part of the project.
The design also includes the lettering LOVE, COMMUNITY, COURAGE and CELEBRATION inscribed onto the seating area of the tree at the bottom that form the roots. These words described John Henry Newman's, provides a foundation to the project.
Accompanying the commission there is a notice board in front and small booklet available depicting more detailed information and original photographs, where the story of Littlemore is celebrated.
PROCESS / VALUE / MATERIAL
Public engagement was integral to the design process, informed by public consultations, engagement of schools pupils, and the local history society through creative workshops.
There is a duality to the art commission, which values the public space to be both functional, a place to take shelter, rest, meet, reflect, as well as to create a rewarding experience to explore the local history aiming to educate and inspire a wider audience.
The project champions art, design and craft in a wider context within a public setting, promoting a sense of belonging and community.
The project celebrates its use of wood, both through its modern and traditional techniques. Using a combination engineered Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) panels and Oak timber in the construction held together by a hidden steel column and supported steel base plates.
A combination of hand made and modern techniques were used in the creation.
If you would like to know more about this project, please feel free to get in touch.
Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Kerto-Q product
3.5m x 3.5m x 3.5m
Village Green between Cowley road and Newman Road,
Littlemore, Oxford UK