Get us in your inbox

Hot air balloon
Photograph: RSN

Brilliant balloon artwork is going to fill London's skies

A huge 25 metre-high floating gallery will hover over Thamesmead this month

Written by
Ellie Muir

When it comes to art, we’ve seen it all in London. A stress-inducing strobe-light immersive experience? Yep. Whacky waxworks of celebs? A room of enormous smoke filled bubbles? Yeah, been there, done that. But never have we seen an airborne gallery, until now. 

A hot air balloon is set for take off into the skies of Thamesmead, south east London this month. But it's no ordinary hot air balloon, its panels are made up of 200 artworks inspired by the the local community in Thamesmead. The floating gallery, titled 'Fields of Everywhen' was built by international artists musson+retallick (artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick), who won the Thamesmead Open, a global art competition organised by Peabody Trust.

The artists have designed and built a kaleidoscopic, 25 metre-high hot-air balloon showcasing more than 200 artworks created by local residents, artists, and community groups. Artists musson+retallick collaged each design together and digitally enlarged them onto 800 metres of balloon fabric to construct a humongous floating gallery.

Why a balloon, we hear you ask? Well, the vessel was picked due to the area’s association with balloons during the Second World War, when Thamesmead was heavily protected by barrage balloons due to its proximity to the Royal Arsenal, one of the UK's largest munition factories.

The artwork, which took two years to complete, was initially made as a five metre prototype. Later this month, the full-sized gigantic 25 metre balloon will launch in Thamesmead. According to the artists, each patchwork piece tells a different story and represents a moment in Thamesmead’s history. In addition to flying the balloon, the organisers intend to inflate it on the ground on its side so that people can walk into it and see the design from the inside.

'Fields of Everywhen' will fly five times over Thamesmead this summer, including the Thamesmead Festival, with its final flight at the end of September. What better time to get yourself down to see London’s only airborne exhibition?

In an artsy mood? There’s a new Banksy exhibition opening this month.

 A massive new foodhall is opening in Battersea Power Station.

Popular on Time Out

    More on Summer

      Latest news