The Sunflower House


The former chapel now known as Sunflower House

  • Location: 45, Foord Road, Folkestone, Kent (by the viaduct).
  • Commissioned by the Bradstone Association.
  • Dimensions: 7.2m high (to apex) x 9.3m wide
  • Brief: To be aspirational, cheerful, uplifting and give identity to a building revitalised and reinvented as a community centre, a meeting place to be used, noticed and recognised.

My solution: to cover the façade of this building in giant sunflowers. Why sunflowers? They are familiar and recognisable. Children compete to grow the tallest, gardeners to grow the latest variations on a theme, supermarkets sell bunches to decorate our homes, Van Gogh, too, liked them in a vase. They remind us of holidays abroad, summer, golden sun, our aspirations.

Turning to face the rising sun, sunflowers mimic its symbolic representation, familiar to all, of a disc surrounded by flames. Seven giant sunflowers in my design all resolutely face the viewer. Each is determinedly individual, varying in colour, size, and the patterns of their central ‘eye’ where two sets of spirals intersect, Fibonacci-style, throwing out a kaleidoscope of shapes.

Starting at ground level, the sunflowers reach skywards in an effort to become the best and brightest before returning to earth in fiery sunset shades, their ripening seeds trapped in a lattice of neat diamonds. Above them arches the railway viaduct framing views of Folkestone’s surrounding hills. The sunflowers are here and now.

The building has its identity, named after the mural, ‘Sunflower House’.

Thirty days to paint from September to November 2013.

Sunflower House Entrance.

  • A wrap-around extension to the existing mural now that the building work has been complete. Painted on site whilst the Folkestone Triennial took place, with Sunflower House in use hosting a fringe event and providing refreshments to visitors.
  • September to October 2014

Sunflower House entrance

Sunflower House detail

7 Sunflower first coats 6 Before it had sunflowers

8 Sunflower House painting at the top

13 Sunflower House and Wooded Valley from viaduct steps Dec. 2014