A little pyramid that’s big on joyfulness

The Proud Little Pyramid is kicking off a six-month residency to celebrate King’s Cross re-emergence as a social hub


British Argentine-Japanese artist and designer Adam Nathaniel Furman unveils their ‘Proud Little Pyramid’ in Granary Square in King’s Cross. London Picture date: Issue June 24, 2021. PA Photo. The 31ft pyramid, designed to monumentalise joy during ‘Pride’ after such a difficult year, kick-starts a six-month residency at King’s Cross in which Furman will deliver multiple artworks across the estate as well as a series of pop-up retail experiences, in person and virtual events. Furman’s overriding ambition with their art is to decorate and improve public spaces, helping to break down social barriers and to improve people’s everyday lives, aligned with the democratic and inclusive vision of the King’s Cross neighbourhood. Photo credit should read: John Nguyen/PA Wire

As Pride Month comes to an end and the UK continues to open up from lockdown, Granary Square in London’s King’s Cross is hosting a colourful and loud “welcome back”.

The Proud Little Pyramid, which was unveiled during Pride Month, is kicking off a six-month residency to celebrate King’s Cross re-emergence as a social hub once more.

The designer Adam Nathaniel Furman told the JC they hoped to “monumentalise joy” with their creation.

Not only does it add a dash of colour to the location but with the seating area at its base, it makes the perfect backdrop for catching up with old friends.

“I really want to bring people together, make [them] smile and also to just stimulate their brains in a positive way,” said Furman.

“My work is celebratory of a lot of things that make London what it is but in a really joyful, aesthetically uplifting way.”

Furman, who identifies as British, Argentinian, Japanese, Jewish and queer, has a love for mixing cultures, traditions and heritages as a form of expression. Appropriately, they want the pyramid to be a symbol of multiculturalism, acceptance and Pride.

“I simultaneously felt like I never fit into any of the groups out of the multiple ones I’m supposedly part of. I’ve just ended up doing my own thing, which actually overlaps all of them, very often creating really interesting new kinships.” Jewish and queer history have definitely played a role in Furman’s relationship with mainstream culture and how it shaped the designer.

“I see queerness and Jewishness as very interlinked. Jews and Jewish culture have constantly shifted depending on the country it’s in.

“You can see that in the synagogue’s architecture of wherever you are, there’s always an amazing exotic inversion or reinvention of local traditions which are non-Jewish. Similarly, with Queer culture, it’s almost always of its place but different,” said Furman, who identifies as non-binary and uses “they/them” pronouns.

Furman’s mother is Japanese and father is Argentinian. They met in Israel before deciding to settle in London. Fitting in didn’t always come easily to the family, but one place that brings back happy memories is Hampstead Synagogue, where Furman is still a member today.

“It was a place where I actually felt at home and that didn’t happen very often. It was really nice and kind of magical.”

Furman recalled good memories as a child, exploring the synagogue’s secret corridors, hidden rooms and back staircases with the other children there.

As an adult, Furman still gravitates toward the stunning, Grade II-listed building, describing it as “one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world”.

From the youngster running around creating memories in a beautiful synagogue, Furman has now created the backdrop for others to create new memories – especially after such a difficult year. After all, “art has the most amazing effect on people”, they says.

Children gravitate towards the pyramid’s bright inviting colours, families gather beside it, people stop to take photos with it and ,according to Furman, it’s made its way onto a surprising amount of Grindr profile pictures too.

The King’s Cross location also has great significance in Furman’s life: “I have learnt, loved and laughed here. In the Nineties I was regular at iconic nightclubs The Cross & the Scala and later a student and then teacher at Central St Martins.”

Over the next six months, Furman will continue to celebrate the re-opening of King’s Cross with a series of installations around the area, including around the hoarding that surrounds Google’s HQ.

They said: “I want to make history –and its complexity – instantly present and fun. And the opportunity to use this vast and striking space – once my playground, now my canvas – is beyond thrilling.”

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