London Design Week puts a High Line over Camden High Street

Camden High Line

Camden High Line - Credit: Archant

In a rush to get the Saturday food shopping out the way, or pushing past hordes of commuters on a Monday morning, do you ever take the time to look up?

Camden Town

Camden Town - Credit: Archant

If you glance at the skies in Camden this week, you may spy something a little different.

For London Design Week, until September 21, several local artists and designers have taken over vacant rooftops, building a High Line on the High Street.

Designers Tsvetelina Tomova, 25, and Romain Meunier, 36, have created a piece together called The Rooftop Line. Perched on top of no. 26, Camden High Street, you can now see a model train track, with a train choo-chooing throughout the day. The train has a live web camera on the front, and pedestrians can view footage of the skyline online, or in the café below.

Tomova and Meunier first met as students in London. There is quite an age gap, but they insist that they both view their life and work as if they were sixteen years old.

“I think that in terms of creativity, Camden is a crazy place,” says Tomova, who lives in Golders Green. “People are very free to express themselves. We’ve been noticing people walking down the streets and they’ve turned their heads, especially since the train started moving.

“The other day, someone was just walking down the street. He seemed in a bit of a rush and he just shouted out: ‘Oh! Is that a train track?’ And then he just carried on walking.”

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Tomova and Meunier have been partly inspired by The High Line in New York, a one mile long linear park built on a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. “We’re both quite interested in community-based projects and abandoned and disused spaces,” says Tomova.

“The idea is to try to make people think about this space that could be used in another way – you have all this unused space and beautiful views,” continues Meunier.

“There is this space, the public can’t access it, but we can do something to inspire them. We had this idea of creating a journey for people, where you can travel through a space and relate it to your own experiences. The train is a toy, so it’s a bit more playful.”

The High Street High Line is an initiative by the Collective in Camden, which supports creatives in finding work and setting up their own businesses.