Final Major Project Underway

I am now in my third year at Uni, (time has flown by so fast, I cannot quite believe it), and I am now working on my FMP. The site I chose to design is the Arnolfini mixed use building in Bristol, and I am re-imagining it as a new Art Gallery, using all of the space and reconfiguring the internal floors and roof areas.

This has been a really intense project so far, the scale of the building is vast and there are so many elements to consider. I made a sort of shopping list to remind myself of what I need to do / add/ remove and it grows daily as I work through the project.

My inspiration for the design comes from several areas; the building is set on the edge of the floating harbour and I loved the reflections of it in the water. From these I have designed panels and balustrading to use in the site.

The stonework on the building is beautiful, they have what is called vermicular rustication on the stone and I love the way the light plays on it. Taking negative shadows from the stone I have cast light through them. These also influenced the balustrading patterns.

The building was built originally to store tea in the booming trade in the 1830’s and which was expected to be stored in Bristol, but by the time it was completed, the tea trade had moved to London. Known as Bush House, the site became an iron foundry and then a bonded warehouse. Research into this trade has given me lots of ideas, especially using the pattern of shipping lines used for the original intention of Bush House.

Tea Trade Route Lines

These lines will be manipulated into design ideas within the site.

I have had some great finds in my research, done a poll with local residents and had interviews with curator/gallery head experts like Sir Nicholas Serota, Sir Nicholas Penny & Patrick Elliot who have helped me realise what is needed in such a large gallery to make it successful. I will post more as I go…

Exhibition – Unconcious Landscapes

This week I visited Hauser & Wirth in Bruton to see an exhibition of female artists, with works shown from the private collection of Ursula Hauser.  She has collected these over the past thirty years and they range from artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Maria Lassnig, Meret Oppenheim and Roni Horn.   The exhibition celebrates female artists, often overlooked in contemporary art in the past.  For a detailed review of the exhibition, Rachel Campbell‑Johnston has written a great review in The Times.

I was so excited to see Meret Oppenheim’s work in the flesh.  These gloves are wonderful, and a prime example of her surrealist art.  The painting was a surprise as I had always associated her with 3D and sculptural pieces,

From paintings to sculptures, the works create different moods and reactions.  There was a lot of work by Louise Bourgeois, and I am not personally a fan of the spiders due to my own arachnophobia, but I suppose a visceral reaction is a key element to the pieces.  She also made these long legs below which I loved, they conjured up ideas of giants, myths and fairy tales.

A lot of the work was very textural, and these pieces by Sheila Hicks we’re probably my favourite in the exhibition.  The textures and colours are beautiful:

The other element at Hauser & Wirth which is wonderful to see is the garden, designed by Piet Oudolf, with the serpentine pavilion by Radic as a permanent installation.  I had not seen the gardens before at this time of year, and they were in full bloom.  The planting is in drifts of tall perennials which float in the wind, very worth visiting.

In the Roth Bar & Grill, (a welcome part of the site, delicious food…), they have the original design of the garden.  It is interesting to see the initial sketch to the final result.

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So for anyone in that part of the world, it is definitely worth a visit.  The exhibition runs until September the 8th.