Surrey’s Inspiring Views: New seat by artist Will Nash unveiled on the North Downs Way

PUBLISHED: 14:36 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:36 04 November 2020

Optohedron by Will Nash. Image: John Miller

Optohedron by Will Nash. Image: John Miller

© John MIller

The installation of ‘Optohedron’ follows a crowdfunding campaign which raised £8,000

A striking new sculptural seat created by artist Will Nash has been unveiled at a viewpoint on the North Downs Way National Trail.

Optohedron, named after the ancient Greek gods: optikós, “of seeing” and hédra “raised seat”, has been installed just a short walk from Newlands Corner.

It is the latest addition to Surrey Hills Arts’ Inspiring Views project, which opens up hidden views, undertakes conservation work, improves access and commissions artists to interpret the views through art.

The installation is the result of a huge amount of local collaboration and follows a crowd funding campaign, which raised £8,000 in just 12 weeks.

Created from weathering steel and packed with timber from the surrounding woodland the seat sympathetically blends into the landscape and was developed from artist Will Nash’s fascination with geometry and patterns in nature. Concealed within the timber are three spherical kaleidoscopes, one looking up at the branches against the sky, one capturing the tree foliage and one down towards the earth.

“The Optohedron sculpture is inspired by the act of viewing, thinking about seeing as the fundamental interface between the person and the world,” Will comments. “Whilst exploring this idea, I investigated optics, the science of light, which took me to an ancient instrument, the kaleidoscope.”

READ MORE: Take a walk along the Greensand Way

Wildlife conservation work led by volunteers from cational charity, Butterfly Conservation has created habitat areas for butterflies to flourish around the new viewpoint. This work is particularly beneficial for the declining Small Blue butterfly. By creating food source and linking patches of habitat across the North Downs helps the species to disperse and increase in number.

Bill Downey, volunteer for Butterfly Conservation comments; “I loved being a part of this project and working with Butterfly Conservation to help this vulnerable species. We’ve been scraping the soil back to the chalk and planting Kidney Vetch, a food source for butterflies and by keeping the scrub down we hope will allow butterflies and other wildlife to thrive”.

A team from Surrey Choices, which works to support individuals of any age and disability, to fulfil their potential, improve independence and confidence and achieve valuable life skills, also helped with the conservation work by cutting back vegetation to open up and maintain the views on Newlands Corner.

The Inspiring Views programme was launched in 2016 with five sculptural seats along the Greensand Way in South West Surrey. For further information on all the Inspiring Views projects visit; inspiringviews.org

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