Commuters will have their head in the clouds while travelling through Paddington Crossrail station thanks to a large-scale artwork installation.
Artist Spencer Finch's design will see different types of clouds printed onto a glazed canopy above the grand ticket hall to create a picture of the sky which will appear to change according to the light, direction of the sun and time of day.
The art piece known as Cloud Index has been co-funded by Heathrow Airport and City of London Corporation, and will be installed ahead of the Crossrail opening in 2018 where an estimated 25 million people a year will use the station.
Artist Spencer Finch said: “I want to create a visual experience for travellers that changes each time they pass through the station.
"This artwork will exist both as an artificial cloudscape and as a homage to the British obsession with categorizing and systematizing the most fugitive of natural phenomena."
The artwork has been commissioned as part of Crossrail's Culture Line, an exhibition of large-scale art across London stations including Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.
The new railway network will also allow business travellers from Canary Wharf to reach Heathrow in under 40 minutes without having to change trains.
Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye who visited Paddington Crossrail station said: “We are incredibly proud to be part of the Culture Line and to support Crossrail’s work connecting Heathrow with the City, Canary Wharf and east London.
"Crossrail will transform journey times across London, take nearly 2 million cars off the road by the time it fully opens in 2019, and ultimately help us to ensure more than 50% of our passengers use public transport at an expanded Heathrow by 2030.”
Improvements at Paddington include the Paddington Integrated Project (PIP), to create an integrated station to improve passenger experience and easy interchanges; a new Hammersmith & City line station built to ease over-crowding; a new pedestrian entrance to the canal towpath; and a new taxi facility to the east of the existing station.
Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman added: “Spencer Finch’s art is beautiful, ambitious and intelligent. It will leave a legacy for future generations, helping to maintain London’s reputation as a global capital for arts and culture.
"I would like to thank Heathrow for joining the City of London Corporation and contributing towards the Culture Line, which has good momentum as we get closer to Crossrail opening in 2018.”
The Culture Line falls outside Crossrail’s £14.8 billion core funding and so the Crossrail Art Foundation is raising funds for individual artworks from corporate funders which will be match funded by The City of London Corporation.
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation said: “Crossrail is the most important infrastructure development for London in recent years, helping us remain a globally competitive and world-leading city.
"However, the project also offers the chance to leave a fantastic cultural footprint for future generations to enjoy which is why we are delighted to half-fund the Crossrail Art Foundation and the Culture Line.”