Pearman has designed the sculpture, called HAT PIN, to celebrate and respond to the heritage of Luton’s Hat industry and broaden public engagement with Luton’s stories and spaces.
The new commission offers the thousands of daily visitors and residents of Luton arriving from the main station, an optical illusion of a three-dimensional hat pin slotted into one of Luton’s key heritage buildings, referencing the hat making industry of the past and the creative enterprises of tomorrow.
The jewel-like work is made from the traditional sign-making medium of vitreous enamel and intersects Hat House, formerly the iconic Connor Hat Factory, which has recently been fully renovated into contemporary workspaces for the creative industries.
Pearman, who employs a screen-printed halftone printing technique to create the three-dimensional effect, was inspired by the aesthetic of commercial badge pins and designed the sculptural HAT PIN with research undertaken in the archives of Wardown House, Museum & Gallery. The project is part of a wider programme of public art commissions by The Culture Trust Luton which includes two giant mural works by the Luton-born artist Mark Titchner, as well as the revered graphic artist John Barnbook, who has produced album covers for David Bowie, amongst others.
‘Hat Pin is the latest in our public art commissions to celebrate the rich heritage of Luton’s Hat District. Tom Pearman’s unique style has produced a playful response to the history of Luton’s Hat making industry. We hope the people of Luton, its visitors, commuters and communities enjoy another prominent landmark that celebrates Luton’s past and future.’
Karen Perkins, The Culture Trust Luton’s Director of Culture & Engagement.