Design students plan a colourful makeover for high street

By Neil Prior
BBC News

  • Published
Street WrapImage source, Joseph Moody

They say never judge a book by its cover… but what about a street?

Swansea's High Street will receive a makeover, thanks to students from the University of Wales Trinity St David's Swansea College of Art.

The students, in their third and fourth year of UWTSD's Surface Pattern Design course, have created vinyl coverings to transform utility boxes.

'Street Wrap' is a collaboration of UWTSD, Swansea council and regeneration project 'Station to the Sea'.

Senior lecturer Georgia McKie said they could not resist the opportunity.

"It's a perfect way of thanking Swansea for all it gives our students, year in, year out, by giving something back to the city," she said.

"To be involved in a regeneration project such as this, right on our door step, and enhance our direct locality with these vibrant 'Swansea inspired' patterns, is a real privilege."

Image source, Joseph Moody

While the patterns may be cutting edge, decorating our surroundings goes back centuries.

Each winter in India, Hindus paint Tulsi, Peepul and Bael trees with turmeric and red paint in thanks to the gods Vishnu and Shiva for providing food, shelter and medicines.

In Angers, France, locals began creating knitting covers for street furniture such as public benches, barriers, bollards and bicycle guards as part of the urban art festival Artaq.

The trend, which has come to be known as yarn bombing, has since developed in the French cities of Saint-Etienne, Evry, Mulhouse, Nevers, Paris, Strasbourg and Rouen.

Image source, Joseph Moody

Closer to home, the Cardiff suburb of Rhiwbina decorate their trees, bollards, post boxes, and even their 'Graffiti Jesus' in woolly jumpers and bobble hats.

In Swansea, the students' covers are on display at the College of Art's Alex Building for the public to choose their favourite.

The designs with the most votes will become vinyl 'skins' for the utility boxes and installed in spring 2018.

Image source, Joseph Moody