New London Architecture

London City Island


A collage of bold and brightly coloured forms includes 10 residential buildings, a new home for the English National Ballet, offices, retail space and leisure facilities.

Catching Colour; a site-specific, outdoor installation by Rana Begum was created for Botanic Square, London City Island and curated by The Line. This dramatic work, featuring ‘clouds’ of suspended coloured mesh, was simultaneously light and monumental, appearing to float above the central pathway of Botanic Square.

The folded layers of coloured mesh in Catching Colour created a mesmerising interplay of light and shadow, which was in turn echoed by the shadows cast on the ground below. Partly inspired by memories from Begum’s Bangladeshi childhood and her recollection of the forms and reflections cast by fishing nets suspended over water, her work was an inspiring response to the natural environment of London City Island and the River Lea that winds around it.
For the launch of Catching Colour in April 2022, The Line developed a collaboration with English National Ballet (who moved to City Island in 2019) to produce a new five-minute dance piece, responding to Rana Begum’s work. Choreographed by ENB’s critically acclaimed Associate Choreographer, Stina Quagebeur, and bringing together art, fashion and contemporary dance, the piece was performed live in Botanic Square, London City Island, with dancers dressed by ROKSANDA.

Catching Colour was also complemented by an ambitious creative engagement programme for local schools and communities, curated and delivered by The Line in association with English National Ballet and Akademi – an organisation focused on nurturing understanding and appreciation of South Asian dance in the UK. Fusing ballet and South Asian dance, this programme included dance workshops developed in response to Quagebeur’s choreography and Begum’s sculpture and culminated in a public performance at London City Island in July 2022 to coincide with South Asian Heritage Month.

Megan Piper, Co-Founder and Director, The Line said:

"Catching Colour presented an extraordinary opportunity to promote collaboration between different artistic practices and local communities. Rana had to work closely with engineers at Arup to realise her vision for the installation, whilst also engaging Roksanda Ilinčić, the fashion designer, and Stina Quagebeur, the choreographer, who created the performance that came to life under her work. Coming out of the pandemic, the installation reminded people to look up, to be present and mindful of their surroundings, and to enjoy the shifting colour and light through the day and different seasons. The engagement programme provided an opportunity to connect two schools from two different boroughs and it brought them together to develop a new dance piece. It was hugely inspiring to see the work that was created through this collaboration and the impact it had on participants."

This project is featured as a case study alongside our Public London: Activating the City insight study. The publication, exhibition and online project directory explore what constitutes a successful and democratic public realm today, the role of co‑creation and partnerships, and how we can ensure that places are fit‑for‑purpose in the long term.
Download the report

Project information




Tower Hamlets




14 Hope St, Leamouth Peninsula, London E14 0JU, UK

Team Credits



Planning Consultant

Rolfe Judd



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