Head Above Water – Photography Credit – Dan Paton – Hoare Lea.
Today 10thOctober 2018 is World Mental Health Day and Alexir Digital, a division of the Alexir Partnership, were delighted to collaborate in the ‘Head Above Water’ project with Time to Change, a mental health campaign run by Mind and rethink Mental Illness. The Head Above Water was a nine-metre-high, interactive sculpture on London’s South Bank with panoramic views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the iconic city skyline. Taking the form of a giant wooden head elevated above the Thames, this striking and powerful piece aimed to inspire and spark debate. The breath taking sculpture was erected on Queen’s Stone jetty (aka Gabriel’s Pier) and was part of London Design Festival during September. It stood as a symbol of hope, bravery, compassion and positivity in support of Time to Change’s campaign to remove the stigma of mental illness.
The Head was deliberately gender, ethnicity and age neutral and stands as a symbol of hope, bravery, compassion, positivity and change, for those who have come through or are still confronting mental health issues, and the people who support them. At night, Head Above Water was lit, and people were able to engage with its changing colours to reflect how they were feeling through a designated Twitter feed – in real time.
Steuart Padwick is best known for his furniture and lighting and having been offered the aforesaid jetty, he wanted to create a piece that expressed the magnitude of its location. Head Above Water began as a clay head that Steuart sculpted and developed into the wooden piece that we can see from the photography. The Head sculpture was a model of sustainable, smart design and build and sourced from PEFC certified Forests. It was made using Stora Enso precision engineered, cross-laminated timber panels, and to resolve the structure Steuart Padwick worked with structural engineering experts, Ramboll.
Alexir Digital were approached by Stora Enso to print a small run of bespoke cartons to house smaller models of the sculpture to mail out to all those involved in the project. The mailing campaign intended to stimulate discussion to eradicate mental health-related stigma and discrimination.
James Geddes, Marketing Volunteer for the project said, “First things first, I’d like to thank you for your fantastic and continued support of the Head Above Water project. It would be a vast understatement to say that this could never have happened without the generous support of our partners and sponsors. It’s my hope that we can continue this partnership by pooling resources and know-how when it comes to developing the Head’s digital presence and developing ideas for its future. Our hope is that through your generous collaboration, we will be able to give the project and its invaluable message of ending the stigma surrounding mental health the broad and visible platform it deserves.”