Due to its medieval street plan, the City of London has a network of ancient passageways and little roads that connect with the main, and provide those that know them the ability to navigate the City away from the chaos of the busy streets. Plantation Lane has that same feel and purpose especially as it passes the north-side of St Margaret Pattens church, one of Wren’s post-fire churches of 1688, but was actually created as a new lane in 2004, as part of the huge Plantation Place development.
Plantation Lane is approximately 108m in length, perpendicular to the two roads it connects. Both the development as a whole and lane take their name from the former occupant of this site: Plantation House, built in 1935, which served as a market for tea and rubber plantations.
But what makes Plantation Lane more than just another passageway is that its entirety hosts a permanent art installation called “Time and Tide”.
Time and Tide was designed in a collaboration by the British artist Simon Patterson, a 1996 Turner Prize nominee renowned for his textual art, along with the architects and developers, to be an integral part of Plantation Place.
The theme of Time and Tide is a reference to the long and varied history of the City and of the moon’s constant influence on the tides of the Thames which outflow and flow endlessly over time. To express this, the artist has created two distinct elements: Time and Tide.
The Time element is represented by a series of textual lists embedding into the pavement which follow a gentle arc along the passageway, charting events, people, places and institutions related to the City’s past and present. The lists are playful to follow as they alternate in orientation for each row, and some are incomplete as they are disrupted by the walls of nearby buildings or the end of the lane itself.
The Tide element is represented by a 41m long and 6m tall illuminated panel depicting a photograph of the surface of the moon. The colour of the illumination varies slowly over time and is a dramatic spectacle especially at dusk when the lit panel casts its coloured light over the passageway and surrounding walls of Plantation Place, and if raining also reflecting off the wet floor.
Here is the location, since you can miss it easy: