One Eagle Place in Piccadilly is part of one of the most iconic commissions by the renowned sculptor Richard Deacon. Commissioned by Eric Parry Architects, the emblematic cornice establishes a dialogue between architecture and art in the heart of London’s city centre. The brief was to replace and refurbish existing buildings in two conservation areas (Regent Street and St James’s) with new and retained facades.
The cornice and window frames were made of faience, a glazed finish. This is a technique widely used in Art Deco buildings and can still be seen on the interior and exterior of many London Underground stations. The process involved mixing different coloured clay in such a way that the original colours remained, but intermingled with each other. Otherwise, a more liquid form in which several colours are mixed at random usually ends in disaster.
This resulted in an iconic cornice from ceramic pieces made up of 30 different colours producing 299 variations. Although Deacon described the cornice design as a “happy accident”, it was exactly what was needed for the project and was enthusiastically accepted by the team at Eric Parry Architects.