Members of the public will be asked to help construct a cardboard copy of the Kew Bridge water tower on Saturday (July 18).
The project is the brainchild of Frenchman Olivier Grossetete and, while the material may be lightweight, the artist's ambitions are as grand as his surname suggests.
Churches, castle turrets and columns are among his previous cardboard creations - all of which are flattened the day after they've been lovingly erected.
We caught up with him ahead of his latest undertaking in Bell Square, Hounslow, dubbed The People's Tower, to ask about working with the public and his love of using scrap materials.
Can you tell us a little about the structure planned for Hounslow?
I'm taking my inspiration from Kew Bridge water tower (the elegant Victorian edifice at the London Museum of Steam & Water in Brentford).
Is it all just a bit of fun, or is there a more serious nature to the performances/structures?
I think all art comes from a 'serious' reflection of our world and society, and mine is no exception, even though it's related to childhood and to the pleasure of building something together. It comes from reflecting on the symbolism of architecture (a sort of 'packaging' for those whom it seeks to represent) and on the necessity of giving and generosity in our social relations. My work manages to bring together a wide public, as much across age as social background, around the simple idea of building together the model of a building based on the original artictecture. It's a way of bringing the imagination, dreams and utopia face to face with reality and vice versa.
What's it like as an artist collaborating with members of the public?
It's quite exciting from an artistic point of view because it's a gamble every time [or I think you could translate this more loosely as 'because you never quite know how it will turn out'], and at the same time it's very rich from a relationship point of view.
How did you get into working with old cardboard boxes and other discarded matter?
In my artistic work I've always loved transforming materials and/or locations. My first cardboard construction was to add cardboard towers to a town hall. It's a way of juxtaposing an image of power with a material that's seen as low-grade and is thrown away on an industrial scale.
What's the best thing you've ever built?
There are two constructions that I particularly like which are two bridges. One is made of cardboard boxes floating on the water on canoes. The other is a monkey bridge (a sort of catwalk above the deck of a ship) made of rope and wood which is suspended from enormous balloons. There's also a collage I really like which is a beggar made of bank notes.
How difficult is it to watch the structures you've spent so long creating destroyed the next day?
No, it's not that hard. It avoids fetishising the object and the result... and it puts even more emphasis on the process of creation itself. What's so lovely about creating is to put all your intelligence, all your energy and know how into bringing a project to fruition. When it's all finished, what matters is to start again with the next project and not the ephemeral satisfaction of the result.
You can help Mr Grossetete build The People's Tower in Bell Square, Hounslow, on Saturday (July 18), from 10am-6pm, or watch it being demolished the next day at 2pm.