Street art ‘Marmite’ unveiled on Euston Road

The Megaro Hotel and Barclays bank before

The Megaro Hotel before. Photo: Bill Reed

Megaro after

...and after.

A massive graffiti mural has been completed on a building opposite St Pancras station today. The vivid artwork was commissioned by the building and hotel owner, Tony Megaro.

“The idea is basically to bring a bit of fun and colour to a drab stretch of road,” said Mr Megaro. “Now when you come out of St Pancras, you’ll think: wow, what’s that?”

The prominence and boldness of the painted design on Euston Road is likely to divide opinion, especially as it has been applied to a classically styled building.

Bill Reed, a local resident and member of the King’s Cross Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said: “It was an attractive building of high quality natural stone and brickwork that has now been knackered with a layer of permanent paint, that, like an unwanted tattoo, will never completely disappear.”

Mr Megaro denied that it marred or diminished the building and said the work was a colourful enhancement: “When you go to Barcelona you see all the coloured tiles and things like that. I think in this country we tend to be a bit conservative…it’s an impressive building, not an ugly building that we want to camouflage.”

He said that the design interacted with architectural features and “enhances some of the arches.” He added that the work had been thought and executed by four internationally commissioned artists, from the UK, New Zealand, the US and France.

A key concern of the mural’s critics is what it will look like as it ages and fades. Mr Megaro said it was supposed to last 20 years: “that’s what the paint company guarantees.”

But Mr Reed, who is also chair of nearby Argyle Square’s Friends’ group, said: “Exterior paintwork needs redecorating eventually, and when it does, this will probably end up a tasteful shade of cream, leaving no trace of either the eye-catching kaleidoscope of transient colour we see now, nor the enduring richness of the materials below that.”

Although in a conservation area, the building itself is not listed, and in Camden the owner of the building does not need to seek planning permission for this type of change.

“Personally I don’t have a problem with [the design],” said Mr Reed, “but you have got to separate the design from what they have done to the building.

“It’s probably quite amazing for people visiting, but people who live around here are going to have to deal with it for a long time,” he added.

It highlights the different regulation in central London boroughs ­– Westminster appears to require permission for murals, as wall-owners with a Banksy found.

Clare Hill

About Clare Hill

Clare is a writer and editor who lived in King’s Cross for a decade. She is passionate about local history, transport and food. Contact Clare by commenting on her posts or go to http://www.clarehill.net
This entry was posted in Architecture, Arts and Entertainment, Local businesses, Planning, Licensing and Regulation and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Street art ‘Marmite’ unveiled on Euston Road

  1. Clare Hill says:

    Sorry that ‘other’ votes aren’t displaying. I’m collating them below.

    • Clare Hill says:

      “Hate it!”

      “It looks good in the photo, but it shouldn’t have been done”

      “erm that is ugly, what were you thinking?!”

      “Neither hate nor love. Not Marmite.”

      “I am going to have to see it in the flesh before casting judgement!”

      “Better use of the buildings own features with paint”

      “Find it interesting”

      “It’s not advertising anything but beauty. Isn’t it time that buildings evolve wi…”

      “No so nice in reality, especially when viewed from a distance”

      “I love street art. I also love old buildings. And this blend looks fucking awful”

      “love art but dont think it real fits that well, sorry”

      “ok but not for more than 6 months”

      “Not sure, will see how I feel as time passes”

  2. Sean Murray - Retail specialist | Urban activist says:

    “It would be OK if it were reversible after a while.”

  3. tobiaskx says:

    Surely its reversible. in any case. Quite like it.

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  6. Bill says:

    Everything that goes against convention in London has always initially caused controversy from the Gherkin and London Eye, right back to St Paul’s Cathedral when it was originally built. However after their initial shock, the public over time come to realise that people doing things differently is what this vibrant city is all about, and even if it isn’t quite to personal taste, the fact that London has landmarks is important. Personally I think that to be greeted by a sight like this as you exit King’s Cross, underlines the fact you have arrived in a creative capitol. Long may it continue!

  7. Andrew says:

    It is certainly getting the hotel + restaurant some attention….http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2012/april/londons-largest-mural

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  9. I quite like it, the only downside is that the colour scheme is reminiscent of London 2012 merchandising so I thought it was done as some sort of tie-in.
    Agree @Bill – small pockets of dissonance work.

  10. I preferred the approach in Kilburn, where they covered the underside of a bridge next to the tube, and used local artists: http://www.signalproject.com/kilburn-tube-mural

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