In past decades, development sites were simply fenced off. Then they became surrounded by hoardings – made up of plywood panels secured to posts. The wood was left bare or painted white. The protection of the site was purely utilitarian, more often than not the hoarding itself was more of an eyesore.

In recent years things have changed dramatically. Modern hoardings now have plastic finishes, they are smart in appearance and increasingly they are being used as canvases for information, advertising, and even community involvement.

One of the cleverest ideas was evident on the hoarding surrounding the old Middlesex Hospital site – now Fitzroy Square – in London’s West End. Children’s art from the local primary school filled one long side of the site in an excellent display demonstrating community involvement. Click here to see my post showing images from that display.

While in Islington recently, I walked down City Road and passed a thirty-one storey residential development titled ‘Canaletto’. I’m not sure whether Canaletto the Venetian painter would be happy to find his name associated with a modern building, but that is by the way. What caught my eye was the imaginative hoarding on which had been printed a series of computer-generated images advertising the finished product. These images were presented as if they were framed prints that had been wrapped for presentation and the wrapping then torn away to reveal the content.

That’s enough of me rambling on – see for yourself in the image below. The cleverness is the way that the hoarding has a 3D appearance to it, although I can assure you it is strictly 2D.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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12 Responses to Unwrapping

  1. oneowner says:

    Not your ordinary sidewalk graffiti. This is very sophisticated work and very unusual.

  2. shoreacres says:

    Here’s the first smile. I got all the way to the fourth paragraph before I noted your “misspelling” of “boarding” as “hoarding.” When I went back and looked, I saw I’d been reading hoard as board all the way through. Off to the dictionary I went, and discovered a brand new word. I’ve only known hoard as a cache of treasure or junk, and hoarding as a verb. I wonder now if I’ve encountered it before, and just read right past it.

    Now that I’ve sorted that, the hoarding is amazing. When I first glanced at the photo, I thought it might have been a sidewalk art show, with the paintings propped up against the wall. That’s one of the most creative bits of advertising I’ve seen: interesting in its own right, as well as for the information in conveys about the project it’s promoting.

    • LensScaper says:

      Ha! It’s an understandable mistake – we read what our brain expects to see. And that’s also why the writer of an article is always the worst person to proof read their article to check for typos and other errors. Actually I think the two words can be inter-changeable except that when I use the word boarding it tends to have ‘up’ as the next word. Windows are boarded up to protect against hurricanes etc, but my experience is that sites have hoardings (made of boarding) to keep out prying eyes and potentially to keep out petty thefts! But I’m quite sure that other folk will use the word boarding instead.
      Anyway, now that I’ve done that one to death (!), I’m glad you are impressed with the artistry of this Hoarding. The presentation extended for quite a length of the site and at first glance it was almost like a montage. It still looks like a montage I think in the image – a very clever designer’s work. Thanks very much, Linda.

  3. Chillbrook says:

    These hoardings are fabulous aren’t they? I guess I wouldn’t recognise City Road now, I have after all been away from Islington for 8 years. A day is a long time in the story of London architecture it seems. I like modern architecture but I wish they were preserving more of what stood before this residential site was flattened to make way for the Canaletto development.

    • LensScaper says:

      They are pretty special, Adrian, you are absolutely right. This is about half a mile down City Rd from the Angel just beyond City Road Basin and on the corner of Wharf Road. I was actually on my way to the Miro gallery in Wharf Road. Much of City Road is untouched, but there is significant development on both sides of the road. There are also major redevelopment plans for the Basin too. Development is rapid and the speed with which we forget altogether what the area looked like prior to development is really rather worrying.

  4. poppytump says:

    These really are quite astounding in tricking the eye Andy 😉 Canaletto ? I’m lost with that one .. however what does seem obvious is that the potential interiors look rather plush I have to say .
    As more and more is lost to redevelopment it brings to mind the campaign of Adam Fergusson and his book The Sack of Bath – but of course London is on a much bigger scale and naturally much has now been lost forever . Photography is such a record 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Poppy – you won’t get much for a million quid in developments like this. London is changing fast but it is vast and just a hundred yards away from the plush new face of London, you can find the old.

  5. This is excellent! Thanks for posting this shot, which I will be sharing with my husband, who is an architect. I think he should start this on some of his projects!

  6. Len says:

    Never quite seen anything like that Andy. Nice capture. Plus you have taught me a new way to use the word hoarding.

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