East Village Development Project

Shipshape Arts
East Village, London
Shipshape Arts
Final Contract Value
Completion Date
May 2013

Project Brief

Essential Projects was approached by Nottingham based creative arts company, Shipshape Arts to manufacture metal plinths that would provide a secure mounting baseplate for two giant topiary figures named “Little Boy” and “Old Woman”.

The figures are collectively known as “The Sweepers” and were originally located at the iconic Southbank Centre in London, as part of the Festival of Neighbourhood but have more recently been relocated to the site of London Olympics 2012 Athletes Village.

The area is now known as the East Village and is set in 27 hectares of parkland. The Athletes Village has been transformed into a community that will deliver high quality new homes for individuals, couples and families, with a range of options to suit everyone, from one bedroom apartments, to four bedroom townhouses, private rental to shared ownership.

The Sweepers were the first residents to move into the East Village and were inspired in the aftermath of the London Riots. They represent taking responsibility for ones own actions and surroundings, as per the Italian proverb “If every man would sweep his own doorstep, the city would soon be clean.”

The essential solution

In order to provide a solid foundation for The Sweepers, Essential Projects was contracted to manufacture and supply Shipshape Arts with two metal plinths, that needed to be relatively portable to allow The Sweepers to be moved from the original destination to the East Village.

The structure consisted of four outer sections and was bolted together using spreader plates. The metalwork created a platform on to which paving slabs could be laid to provide ballast which weighted the topiary figures down to protect against high winds. Internal angle iron ledges were also incorporated in to the metal platform to ensure the structure was compatible with scaffolding so that additional decking areas could be attached.


“Essential Projects provided some very useful advice regarding the safest and most secure way to mount the figures. The use of the metal plinths they manufactured have enabled the topiary displayed to provide the best visual effect. Following a brief conversation, very little technical input was required from us as Essential Projects very quickly understood what we needed. The structures were delivered exactly to specification and more importantly on time.”

Mike De Butts

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