Hardscape has helped bring local history to life working with Vector Design Landscape Architects and sculptor Emma Hunter as part of the Elk Mill Shopping Park redevelopment project in Oldham.
The landscape architects were commissioned by owners, British Land, to create a scheme marking the legacy of Elk Mill – Oldham’s last working cotton mill, which originally started production in 1928 as the largest in the UK.
Reflecting the days when mill workers would walk barefoot to avoid slipping on the oily mill floors, Hardscape crafted raised bronze footprint castings set in stone using high-tech stone masonry machinery. The paving feature historic images relating to the mill chosen by local community partners and can be found all around the shopping centre. Designed with a dual purpose, they are not only visually pleasing, but children can make rubbing impressions from them too.
Using its bespoke Artscape process, Hardscape bonded the bronze castings into Kellen Breccia paving. This particular stone was chosen due to its rich variety of textures, finishes and colours allowing it to be easily combined with a selection of kerbs and edgings – perfect for a pedestrian zone like Elk Mill.
Two distinctive – and interactive – sculptures also feature as part of the scheme. ‘The Spinners’ and ‘Belts and Pulleys’ have moving parts and act as a visual reminder of the area’s rich heritage.
Andrew Sinclair from Vector Design Landscape Architects said: “We worked very closely with the Hardscape team to create a scheme that would pay homage to the local community and its rich history. Hardscape’s craftsmanship is second to none and without their expertise and know-how, we wouldn’t have been able to bring our vision to life.”