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One Bedford Avenue

Commonplace celebrates the unseen history of Tottenham Court Road, from a time when it was a hub for consumer electronics. Lilah Fowler has worked with the façade of One Bedford Avenue, placing neon lights alongside the windows and framing the square windows to form a binary code of 0s and 1s.                                                                                                                             

The pattern represents an encrypted text, which when decoded, spells out a single line and a page from the origin of the text - “Our knowledge is nothing but the glass of our own imperfections”. The text was sourced by Fowler in ‘the Commonplace books’, held in the archives of The Bedford Estates, the family who has owned the land on which Tottenham Court Road was built, since 1669. The artwork makes reference to the building, to its location and its socioeconomic history.


A secondary element of the artwork is the encoding of an image as a pattern on the window glazing. Fowler collaborated with a physicist at University College of London to employ a new quantum cryptography technology in realising the pattern.


The image derives from the “History see Chronicles” section of the Commonplace books. 

Our knowledge is nothing but the glass of our own imperfections: it’s a complex idea about the use, span and constant change of knowledge. 

 Excerpt from text by Orit Gat.    





Lilah Fowler

Title of work





Bennetts Associates


One Bedford Avenue



Image credit

Commonplace, daytime, 2017, Lilah Fowler. Image credit: Ollie Harrop.