Portal, Southampton

As part of phase two of the Mountpark redevelopment of the former Ford Transit factory site in Southampton we were asked to commission an artist to create a permanent artwork on a plot of land beside two new large industrial units where the old factory gates have been retained.

Following an open call for proposals we worked with Southampton based artist sarah filmer. The final artwork, portal, incorporates social seating based on a modified ‘Southampton Bench’ the style of which became prominent in the city during the Ford factory’s heyday. The seats were fabricated just outside Southampton by Neptune Street Furniture from concrete and wood and engraved with the signatures of the former factory workers.

Designed as a place for the hundreds of workers from the new industrial units to sit and enjoy a lunch break the work also includes an integrated chess board and considered planting. Next to the seating, audio guides have been installed that include a number of oral histories recorded by the Transition Project when the factory closed.