Saturday, July 20News For London

Beauty in the bin: Starlight Faerie tests the boundaries of art and waste

Starlight Faerie on Oxford Street. Image by: Malavika Pradeep

This Christmas, recent graduates of the University of Westminster weaved enchantment through a one-of-a-kind fairy installation in the heart of London. 

Starlight Faerie is a magical journey where innovation and imagination meets sustainability and was designed by Westminster graduates Julie Beech and Danil Ripnar. 

Discarded materials find new life through creativity in the busy corner of Oxford Street and South Molton Street. A whimsical fairy wonderland, standing three metres tall, was created using waste materials. Tealights from Westminster Abbey found a spot in the faerie’s corset, while the mannequin-transformed fairy was sourced from an Oxford Street store. 

The installation is commissioned by Veolia and New West End Company. The faerie will be outside Bond Street station until January 2024, after which it will tour across Westminster. 

It will act as an interactive donation point for Oxford Street’s official partner, Starlight. Starlight is a national children’s charity that helps children forget their worries and enjoy childhood. It helps boost children’s wellbeing and resilience throughout treatment, care and recovery from illness. A seamless way to tap and donate to the charity to support children and their stay in the hospital over Christmas a bit brighter. 

Speaking to FM, Beech and Ripnar said: “Experimentation, randomness and intuition have dictated the design process, led by the unpredictable nature of using found materials. We see ourselves as urban foragers, finding value in what may be seemingly useless or undesirable.”

‘Experimentation, randomness and intuition have dictated the design process’. Image by: Malavika Pradeep

However, the locals have a different perspective. “This is a joke, to be honest. We saw them install it, and they could not even light up the star,” an ice cream vendor near the Starlight Faerie told Westminster World. According to him, if such an installation is being put up on a busy street like Oxford Street, it should be “up to the mark ” as it is “a representation of London.” 

The ice cream vendor added: “Many people are taking pictures of it because it is on Oxford Street. Everything sells on Oxford Street. If it was not here, maybe nobody would even turn back and look at it.” 

He believes that raising awareness by creating this from recycled material is a noble thought, but “it should be appealing.” The vendor said: “What’s the point if you are making waste out of waste?” 

He also mentions that the primary purpose of the installation was to make donations toward the children’s charity. “To be honest, I have not seen many people donating. They are clicking pictures and moving on,” the ice cream vendor said. “I would be surprised if anyone willingly wants to donate.”