"When I was asked if I was interested in doing the commission for St Pancras, I didn't realise that it was such an awesome building. But I knew that if it was the new Eurostar building then it would be a fabulously lived-in and desirable space to put in any work of art."
"For any vainglorious artist to have the opportunity to put their work in such a public space would be very exciting. There was a great deal of fear and trembling that I was possibly going to be selected to make a design for it. It is a massive responsibility."
Renovation work at The Barlow Shed
"My first impression was shock, awe and wonder at the beauty and scale of the Barlow shed. Scott's St Pancras Chambers building is in itself a beautiful and complex piece of architecture. I think the contrast of the two makes a potent cocktail. What could one put in that space that would be visible and hold its own, and create some sort of meaning but would enhance what was already there and give focus to the whole building?"
"To make a work of art that's going to succeed, for me, it needs to look like it was always meant to have been there. That it doesn't necessarily create a discordant juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is important but there also needs to be harmony, repetition and integration. There needs to be energies, different things rubbing together to create explosions which give a sense of energy to a place. But a work of art is going to have an impact on its environment and change it. So you have to consider how you are changing it and do it for the better."
Artist Paul Day. Photo: LCR/Paul Day
"The clients said that it should reflect the romance that train travel used to have. That it ought to be a very democratic piece of work, something that was accessible and could be easily appreciated by the mass of people that are going to go through the station."
"I went away for 24 hours to think about the project and I came back with three ideas. One was the embracing couple under a clock at a railway station; something that can be universally recognised as a symbol of travel is the couple being reunited. The clock becomes a moon at night. There is a sense of reunification. That had the romantic element."
"When I presented the drawings, everybody at LCR (London & Continental Railways) felt that the simple silhouette of the couple could be recognised instantly from the other end of the station, so there is no ambiguity of 'what is that lump of bronze?'
One can see straight away what it is. It's like a giant signpost to direct the gaze up to the clock. It also has a sense of optimism and universal appeal. The figures themselves, I wanted them to be outside of race and outside of time."
"All separation involves a suspended moment when one wonders is this forever?"Paul Day
"The couple itself will be the icon of the sculpture but around the base, on the frieze, I look at all kinds of different meetings and one of the things that made me think about that was the film 'Love Actually.' At the airport scene, when you get all the characters together and suddenly the doors open and out come the people that have been away and you get all sorts of meetings and people being reunited. I think that is an interesting slice of life and in a way the relief around the base has to be a rich tapestry about people getting together again after being apart. All separation involves a suspended moment when one wonders is this forever?"
Making the sculpture
"The first thing is to come up with drawings of the idea. Once the idea has been drawn I went on to make a series of small studies in clay. So I made about a dozen different poses using my wife and myself as models, about the about the size of an action man, to work out the best pose. Once that pose was agreed by the client I went on to make a detailed model about 3 feet tall in clay. That took 2 and half months."
Illustration of The Meeting Place in St Pancras
"From that clay model we took a plaster cast and that was sliced, like a loaf of bread, by a specialist company. They then take each slice and scale it up onto blocks of polystyrene. They then cut out the contour in the block of polystyrene and stick the slices one on top of the other so you have a very, very rough version of the original plaster form. The rough carving is done, then I come along and do the finishing carving, which is the detailed surface and finishing the form, getting the subtlety of folds into the polystyrene. We then coat the polystyrene in plaster and with a resin mix to give it a smooth surface and finally we sand it down so we have the actual surface that the bronze will take."
"It is then cut into manageable sections and is taken to the foundry. A sand mould is made around the outside of these big sections, it is injected with CO2 to go hard, so the sand becomes like a rock, we remove the polystyrene and put in a core and pour bronze into the space between the core and sand mould. Like that we create bronze sections that will be welded together to form the finished sculpture."
"I started work in September 2006. I finished the model on the first of January. The whole work was in bronze and assembled at the end of July and it will be in the Barlow Shed in October. It's been very speedy."
On art in public spaces
"In a sense art has the advantage and disadvantage of being a form of culture that is silent and static. Which means it can be ignored totally. That is the nature of being an artist. I envy enormously actors, ballet dancers and musicians and so forth. They are people that have a living, vibrant contact with their audience. And they know instantly if their work is being appreciated. Artists never get a round of applause or sense of being celebrated."
"However, it is gratifying that while art can be ignored and many people can be insensitive to it – it does its work on the quiet over a long period of time and can be seen and looked at for hundreds of hours and it touches people in a deep way or a superficial way."
"I can go to the Embankment and stand by my sculpture, the Battle of Britain monument, and feel like I own a part of London. I think artwork, even if it's a casual glance, can bring a smile to the passer-by, or it can make them think. It has an impact like architecture has an impact. We can ignore it most of the time but all of a sudden we become aware of its presence."
Click here for features and photos of the new St Pancras International
R. Lonsdale, Surrey
The Sculpture is terribe - sorry to those of you who adore it, but I think this is appalling. Having seen it for myself, it ruins a magnificantly restored station. It is far too big to be appreciated, it is romatic stereotyping, and it is an affront to those who aren't so fortunate as to be in love.In short, a big white (or Brown) elephant.
N Davies, Gwent
I simply adore this sculpture, it's beautiful and romantic. Paul Day is a phenomenal artist.
When i went to St Pancras inernational station i saw the piece of work and was so impressed with what the artist had done. it is the day to day thing that happens and shows the power of love through the British cittizens.
this sculpture is beautiful.i travelled to st pancras just to se it on a day trip to london.i was not disapointed at all.its a shame they didnt sell miniature versions of it.well done mr day
This thing is about as kitch and nasty as it gets -it's badly concieved, realised and is an insult to the general public's inteligence - where was Gormley, where was Heatherwick, where was Marc Quinn ? It ruins a beautiful building.
without a doubt the most touching, down to earth and meaningful piece of art work i have ever experienced, it sums up so many real emotions everyday people have to go through, it's a truely beautiful piece of art.
Many people think that it is a complete and utter diaster and that it is disgusting. but we should think about the time taken to do this construction. WELL DONE!!!i respect you
I was just reading through some of the comments left about the 'meeting place' statue and I think its a good sculpture. Every 2 weeks I have to leave my boyfriend at the station and wait another 2weeks till I see him again and I understand what its like to finally see him again to leaving him after 2 days, it can be very emotional and I think this statue represents the emotion people go through when they are finally reunited. And anyway if you don't like it just turn around and admire the brilliant architecture of the Barlow shed, truley a architectural masterpiece.
A truly evocative peice of work. For anyone who has had to say 'goodbye' or wait an age to say 'hello' it pulls the heart strings and brings a tear to the eye. Superb fulfilment of the brief.
What is the problem with everyone these days, I saw this news piece whilst on holiday in Spain last week and the fuss made me laugh,Why not visit the city of culture we have a 'statue exceedingly bare' which stands over one of the country's most famous department store doorway and now only some one hundred metres away, whe have a new sculpture of two well bless and naked men, one black the other white. and there as not been any fuss about them. Its well worth a visit just to see how the scouse humour comes to life espicially on cold days, when the local community protect certain elements against the cold and frosthere in the north we appreciate the art world if you don't in london
Christopher, you're a pretentious idiot. Open your eyes, look at genuine smiles of pleasure on the faces of the people who pass the statue and get a life.
What a negative lot you all are. Its stunning, beautiful, emotional, clever and exactly what the stations needs. Ive seen it twice now and have it on my phone as a screensaver. It reminds me of love and I think it portrays exactly what the artist wanted to achieve. Thumbs up from Nottingham. The JB sculpture is also absolutely fabulous and I love the scale of it and you can touch it. Im so thrilled that we have such a cosmopolitan international rail terminal. Well done Mr Day. Fabulous (when are you casting little statues of The Meeting Place? I want one now!
Bad art! Painfully obvious in all respects. A blemish on St Pancras.
Given that apparently neither figure wears underwear and Kings Cross is traditionally an area of negotiable affection, I suggest we rename this unfortunate piece, "The Tart 'n' Punter".
It's an absolutely brilliant idea to put this kind of statue at St Pancras where people say hello or goodbye to friends or family
I saw the item about the statue which I think is beautiful. You asked for the worst statues in London and I think the biggest monstrosity has to be our fish statue in Erith in the London Borough of Bexley. Locally known as‘ fish roundabout’ or ‘trout towers’ it is about as ugly as it can get. Although it has won some kind of award it was featured on a programme about the worst waste of money by local councils. It might look better at a swimming pool but is definitely not a good image for an already poor town.
Hideous. Clumsy. Naff. It's an embarrassment. If it were a piece of music it would be the Mr Blobby song. Popular but shamefully bad.
Diane Jones, for me it means the meeting up, my partner coming in with the Eurostar.
The 'Meeting place'statue is far too large for that situation, it is ugly (no, grotesque)and cheap looking, and the only view the majority of us get, is looking up her skirt! If you want to see a really attractive and GOOD work of art, turn your back on it and walk a few yards along to see the charming life-size statue portraying John Betjeman (who helped campaign to rescue this beautiful station).
I think this statue is absolutely HIDEOUS. Whose idea was it to place this monstrosity there while the statue of Sir John Betjeman is half the size and placed halfway down the station at platform level where it can be easily vandalised? Sir John, even though he is no longer with us, is worth more than any politician, past or present, and did so much to preserve not just our railway heritage but London's heritage too. His statue should be twice the size and in its rightful place under the clock to remind everyone of his momentous achievements while the dreadful statue that is there instead should be sold for scrap.
I'm just about to meet a friend at'The Meeting Place" and reading all the comments I'm really REALLY looking forward to having a good look-see! speak to you all soon!!love wins over all!!Jeremy
I went along for a days experience at the company that cast this statue and worked on this piece of art(the base of the rucksack), and I am proud to be a part, although a small part of such a fantastic statue. From an engineering point of view it's impressive.
This piece ruins the whole of the St Pancras redevelopment for me. It is schmaltzy and Athena-esque. It treats the viewer with contempt ("Yes, this is a train station where people come together and part. Do you see?"). Corny, tacky, ugly, kitsch, vile, are other adjectives that spring to mind. The sculptor says that he wanted the characters to be outside race and outside of time. Well to me they are white and middle class and stuck in the here and now. I see no optimism. They are saying goodbye and he's going back to his wife and family in Leicester. The ispiration came from 'Love Actually' did it. Wow if you're going to be inspired you can't get more sublime than Hugh "BJ" Grant and the one from Eastenders. Pull it down NOW!
q bold and very 'un-English' piece, disturbing howver that only the male is issued with a backpack! Has the woman's position not changed since they laid the foundation stone of St Pancras???
Kitsch on a grand scale. Ugly from every angle. A chance for greatness wasted. A horrible welcome to visitors.
nice sentiment but i'm not so keen on the artistic style, it has a garish quality
The statue was moving but has now been bolted down.
i think that this statue is fantastic.
We saw the sculpture yesterday. Disappointed in the proportion - the man's hands were overly large. I was puzzled why the features of the couple were so sharp and aggresive. The John Betjaman statue is wonderful.
Ian Charles Carruthers
Saw the statue at St Pancras last week and I thought it was fantastic, a great work of art.People were in awe of it.
this is a total waste of a wonderful opportunity.
very impresive! well done
A beautiful work of restoration but why stop there, why can't we also hang on to the original name of such a building? namely “Railway Station” and not “Rail Station” or “Train Station”.
This is a wonderful reminder of how we feel when we see that special face in the crowd at the end of the journey.
it is a fantastic and nice sculpture. I would like to visit it at the station soon
i like its emotion but Im not sure it is in the right location?..Ive seen somewhere that it is based on the film 'Brief Encounter'.
I can understand the thinking behind this but it is very 20th century - it is dated already. We could have and should have done much better - where were Damien Hurst and Tracy Emin when we needed them?
Looking at this made me depressed. I understand the difficulties of creating public art but The Meeting Place is the sculptural equivalent of Home and Away. Paul Days is not an artist. At best this instillation is a piece of easy crowd pleasing kitsch. It shames me to think that foreign visitors with be grated by such laughable and embarrassing trash. O out of 10.
Interesting to see such a statue evolve in the BBC documentaries. And those straps ... , I miss them!
This is a very inspiring piece of work and will evoke many emotions through the years. It is poignant and touching. Another fine magnificent sculpture by this gifted young man, who also did the Battle of Britain Monument on the Embankment. God has blessed him mightily.However, I would say this and be proud of all his achievements because I am his Mother.xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Paul, very emotional and beutiful... it looks fantastic!
A lovely sculpture but shame about the glass barriers preventing a long view.You can't even take a full length photo !!
Mrs Pam Collins 
Wonderful sculpture, the figures are of today and quite tear jerking. Longing to see it
er, what is a totchke? (Christopher's comment)
Someone made the comment that it looked like a totchke. I think that's what's so fabulous about it. I didn't need to read the artists words though -- because I can see instead of being post modern and ironic, he meant this earnestly. Which is somehow actually really funny. This is a monumentally scaled work piece of tourist art. Like a Jeff Koons. Placed on a plinth as if it was a memorial to a long ago battle. Not at all democratic, a plinth alone suggests meant to intimidate to rise above the masses -- and there is this traditionally gendered couple up on the plinth the typical location of control and the state. Perhaps he did mean this ironically and didn't tell the BBC this. Or the client. If so, it's wonderfully subversive.
Glasgow's Buchanan St.Bus Station has had a similar (and rather less sinister looking!) sculpture for years....
It's a nice sculpture why does everything has to be sex. What wrong about a couple holding their hands. Our children are bombarded with sex images everywhere you go
Greetings from Vancouver. I think the sculpture is very moving and beautiful. I cannot wait to see it on my next visit to London. Congratulations to you Mr. Day
It reminds me of the film Brief Encounter. Very romantic and something beautiful to look at not a monstrosity imitating art.
If common sense, 'normal observers' and proportion always prevailed over art, what would we be left with but Mills & Boon novellas, Magic FM and soft focus pictures of kittens?
Think it looks great well done Paul
Great! There is an androgyness appearance about it in flat photography I intend to see it, to see if the real thing mantains this air for me. I found the text had a rare touch of humility and is inspirational. My husband was a naval man so meeting under the clock brings back many memories. Thankyou for your work.
I think its a lovely sculpture, the meeting up or saying goodbye.That says it all!Its perfect, well done!
I hope one day to see the sculpture "in person" - it has the romance of a by gone age. Very moving - many will relate to the sculpture.
Everything about the whole St Pancras project looks fantastic and the 'meeting place' finishes it beautifully. Just looks absolutely right - right place, right theme, right style. If only we could get public spaces this right everytime!
This is simply wonderful.From the refurbished station to the sculpture and its history (Brief Encounter is the perfect symbol for the romance of rail travel), we’ve managed to get the context and design just right, which is an amazing feat for a British endeavour.Paul’s not just created a timeless icon but almost an instant classic. How many of us who’ve seen this have already made up our minds to visit the station in the not too distant future with a view to travelling on to Paris and beyond, but also to just stand and stare, hopefully with a loved one?We’ll be taking the kids as well (of course!), but do you think they’ll ever forget that moment?
What a brilliant statue evocative of all those emotional goodbyes or greetings that happen at railway stations. Thankfully they didnt go for unmade beds and sliced cows and went for a modern yet powerfully representational piece of work that is great and will stand the test of time. well done all those concerned. Sculptor and committee
Brilliant,- not trying to be too pretentiously clever, deeply emotional, relevant, human.
I think the sculpture looks very out of place and anyway it's too big. The new modern architecture within the Barlow shed works well with the original Victorian building, but the sculpture downgrades the subtlety of the building. It's a big mistake. What a pity!
I saw the statue on Thursday while I was at St Pancras on one of the test days. I think it looks superb. There is also a scale model of it in the German Gym around the corner.
I was at St Pancras for the Eurostar Testing Day and I was so impressed by the station and the sculpture. 'The Meeting Place' is magnificent, awesome and inspiring. The statue complements the Barlow Shed and that beautiful clock. As you disembark from the train, your eyes are drawn towards the great arch with the clock and the statue at the end. I felt uplifted by the sight and proud of the heritage that produced such art and architecture, separated by several decades. Well done, Paul and the people who had the vision to commission his work. I am sure that the statue, clock and great arch will become iconic symbols of how art and architecture are inseparable, and only hope that others will be inspired by the vision and the artistry.
I am Paul's step sister of the last 30 years and I couldn't be more proud of him, if he was my son. Paul, apart from being an amazing sculptor you are also an amazing guy and I love you to bits. Keep up the good work. xxx
In the pictures you show, it looks slightly odd, there are small dents and scratches here and there. However, I am sure it will look magnificent in real life and in full size. At least it is art, not some kind of "modern" jumble of planks and broken glass. Many congratulations to the artist and creators involved, we can at last show we can do better than anything there is in Paris!!
It's great! I meet my girlfriend every 4 weeks at st pancras (as we are now in our 7th year of a long distance relationship) and it reminds me of how we meet at the station. It's lovely and affectionate.
Well done. I am pleased that the sense of proportion is kept, and in the name of art another ugly structure have not been built. Common sense prevails at last. Many congratulations to ALL those involved in this project.
It looks just like those cheap mass produced erotic sculptures that are available in any cheap 'gift' shop. Horrible.
I'm a friend of Paul's step sister and was lucky enough to be at St Pancras Station last night watching them putting the sculpture in place. It took longer than expected so I had to leave before they had finished but..Wow, it's beautiful...Well done Paul, and thanks for being so nice!.
This is so wonderful, I am in England every week to join my partner for week end in London. Now we have somewhere to meet on Friday night after a long week. Great stuff. Well done!!
I think it is a lovely statue-initmate without being too much and reminds us of the love in our own lives.
It's great to see a public artwork that will actually fit into its environment. There is no ambiguity about the work and the scale will draw the eye of travellers. It makes other metropolitan artwork such as the Paddington bear sculpture look a bit cheap and meaningless.Well done to all involved, a brave piece of work.
How romantic, how approachable, how all-inclusive, what a beautiful choice.
I am delighted by this sculpture! Well done Paul! Thank goodness we have NOT had some ghastly modern work that is ugly and means nothing to 99% of normal observers. The idea behind this work is really quite beautiful. If only we had more public works in this genre about our City.