Overlooking the English Channel, Bottle Alley is a 480m long lower deck promenade bridging the coastal towns of Hastings and St.Leonards in East Sussex. The walkway features 113 columns facing the sea and 15 tonnes of broken and recycled glass bottles embedded in 320 concrete slabs on its north side which give the unique space its name.
Built in the 1930’s by ‘Concrete King’, Sidney Little, Bottle Alley was origianlly built as an undercover walkway providing shelter in bad weather and featured glazed shutters giving extra protection from the elements.
In 2017 Coastal Currents Arts Festival commissioned ZEROH to produce a large scale public art piece at a location of their choice and having previously presented the paste up project ‘Point of Decay’ (2016) in Bottle Alley, they proposed further exploration of the space with the idea of ‘Wavelength’ – a calming display of two colour gradients, one from St.Leonards to Hastings and the other from Hastings to St.Leonards.
Having been given the go ahead by Hastings Borough Council ‘Wavelength’ was made possible by the immense genrosity of local family run company Trade Paints with the help of PPG (Leyland Trade and Johnstones paint) who provided all the paint and equipment required to realise the project.
The colours that make ‘Wavelength’ are part of the Natural Colour System (NCS) and based on the six elementary colours which are perceived by human beings as being “pure”. E.g. pure green is not perceived to be bluish or yellowish, nor is pure yellow perceived to be greenish or reddish. We can describe all 10 million colours that we can perceive with the six elementary colours: White/ Black/ Yellow/ Red/ Blue/ Green.
Photography: Alexander Brattell + ZEROH (2017)
‘Wavelength’, was initially only supposed to last the duration of the Festival but due to popular demand remained in place and intact until covid hit in 2020.
Despite the best intentions and efforts of the artists, the Council and the Foreshore Trust, it became impossible to continually restore the paint work so the columns were sadly whitewashed and upkeep of the once radiant South side of the alley was all but abandoned.
Fast forward to 2023 and ZEROH have once again secured the resources from Trade Paints and PPG and support from HBC to bring back the popular artwork. Working closely with community volunteers, the Foreshore management team and Hastings Borough Council’s own maintenance department they aim to up-keep the work for an additional two years until summer 2025.
ZEROH are offering an opportunity for people to get involved with the upkeep of the coloured columns via several volunteer-led painting days throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn months through to 2025. If you’d like to be a part of the maintanence team to help maintain the artwork fill in the contact form at the bottom of this page and we’ll add you to the pool of supporters of the project and be in touch with more details when the paint days are announced.
ZEROH would like to give a gracious thank you to Tina Morris (Coastal Currents/ Sweet & Dandy), Dean Foster (Trade Paints) and Aaron Woods (Hastings Borough Council).
As of the end of July 2023 over 250 people have signed up to become part of the Wavelength upkeep team and the artwork was reinstated over two days of calm weather and clear skies in an otherwise unsettled month. 60 people came and helped over 4 shifts, the morning volunteers doing initial coats of white on day one and colour day two and the afternoon crews painting the second coats. There was an overwhelming positive response from the passing public and all who took part commented on how much they’d enjoyed being part of something that benefits the whole community. Many thanks to those that helped us with the first painting days. Below are some images from the day taken by photographer JJ Waller.