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Artist cracks up a brick building in Hammersmith

An architectural illusionist best known for quirky pop-up projects has created his first permanent artwork; an eye-catching sculpture in Hammersmith which looks as if it straddles an earthquake faultline.

Alex Chinneck’s 10-tonne ‘torn brick’ artwork, already generating hundreds of double-takes from passers-by, adorns the main front wall of the new Assembly London office development, on the site of the former HarperCollins HQ at 77 Fulham Palace Road.

It’s title, Six Pins and Half a Dozen Needles, follows the artist’s whimsical labelling trend for other installations, including From the Knees of my Nose to the Belly of my Toes, and Take My Lighting, But Don’t Steal My Thunder.

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Image caption: Image 2: The artwork adorns the main front wall of the new Assembly London office development at 77 Fulham Palace Road

The thirtysomething artist has blended his latest vast-scale sculpture into the surrounding building using 4,000 matching bricks and – beneath the surface – 1,000 stainless steel supports.

The unveiling of the sculpture has left motorists and passengers on the top deck of the 220 bus open-mouthed, as at first glance it looks as if the new building is in the process of splitting in half.

“The work was conceived to engage people in a fun and uplifting way,” he explains. “Although we use real brick, it was designed with a cartoon-like quality to give the sculpture an endearing artifice and playful personality.”

It took 14 months to complete, with the artist working alongside engineers, steelworkers and brick-makers.

Alex’s other public works including an upside-down electricity pylon, a melting house made from wax bricks, an upside-down house in Blackfriars, a house in Margate which appears to have its front sliding off, and a stone building in Covent Garden which seems to hover.

The Assembly London development is an ‘urban campus’ with four buildings containing offices, restaurants, shops and public spaces.