Going into orbit with K&C Festival

Published: Friday 22 July 2022

Houston, there’s something new landed in Jubilee Square. From today until Tuesday 26 July, Luke Jerram’s Gaia, a world-renowned artwork which tours across the globe, will make its home in the borough as part of the Kensington and Chelsea Festival this summer.

The artwork is seven metres in diameter, and the helium-filled balloon uses NASA technology to recreate the surface of the Earth as though viewed from space. The artwork is made all the more special at night, when lights showcase the beauty of the Earth, and its fragility, and is designed to create a sense of awe for viewers of all ages as they consider their impact on the planet.

Throughout the day visitors to Gaia will be treated to a surround sound composition by BAFTA award-winning Composer Dan Jones, which will be played alongside the sculpture. While after hours, the soundtrack can be accessed via a QR code and played through phones.

Cllr Emma Will, Lead Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety at Kensington and Chelsea Council said:

Kensington and Chelsea Festival continues to showcase stunning and exciting public art and performances throughout the borough this summer. This weekend Luke Jerram’s Gaia comes to Jubilee Square, offering a rare opportunity to view the Earth as though from space. The huge installation will bring people to the square, recently named to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, before moving on to travel throughout the borough at other locations.

Gaia will be in Jubilee Square until Tuesday 26 July, before moving to two other locations in the borough: 

  • Thursday 28 July to Saturday 6 August: St John the Baptist Church, Holland Road, W14 8AH
  • Tuesday 9 to Sunday 14 August: All Saints’ Church, Clydesdale Road, London W11 1JS

Gaia follows the hugely successful appearance of Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon installation at the 2021 edition of Kensington and Chelsea Festival, attracting more than 18,000 visitors.

Artist Luke Jerram said:

It's a great pleasure to present my artwork right in the heart of London for the Kensington and Chelsea Festival. I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. We have an ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home. Halfway through the Earth’s sixth mass extinction, we urgently need to wake up, and change our behaviour. We need to quickly make the changes necessary, to prevent run away climate change.

Gaia marks the launch of the free arts events programme at the festival and this year, over a third of all events, shows and performances are free or pay-what-you-can. Take a look at what the festival holds now.