| Aug 2, 2011 |
British architects reimagine spaces for London Design Festival
Boh staff
By Staff

The London Design Festival announces two major projects that will form cornerstones of the September Festival, both relating to two of London’s best known buildings.

The Geometric Staircase in St Paul’s Cathedral will house an optical installation, entitled Perspectives, designed by John Pawson for Swarovski Crystal Palace. The staircase, located within the tower, rises over 15 metres and consists of 88 steps, each stone slab supporting the next. As part of the Cathedral’s tri-centennial anniversary celebration, the London Design Festival has invited Pawson to present a remarkable installation which references Sir Christopher Wren’s desire that his buildings should have a scientific purpose.

The intention is to turn this extraordinary spatial volume into its own viewing device. The installation will be a concave Swarovski crystal meniscus - the largest commissionable lens – which will be located at the bottom of the stairwell. This lens will sit on a much larger reflective surface - the upper plane of a specially fabricated metal hemisphere (1200mm in diameter and 675mm in height). A 2m wide spherical convex mirror will be suspended in the tower's cupola, directly over the hemisphere. Acting in concert, these optical devices will result in a composite image of the view up through the tower and an elevated downward perspective appearing to visitors who will be gathered round the hemisphere.

The installation will be free to view from September 19 -  23. Visitors may enter via the Dean's Door in the South West Tower with up to six visitors allowed into the space at any one time between 10am – 6.00pm. Normal charges will apply for access to other parts of the Cathedral. Beyond this date the installation will be open to visitors by appointment only, before closing for the final time on New Year’s Eve.  

David Chipperfield Architects has created an installation entitled Two Lines as a contribution to the Festival’s regular Size + Matter project, hosted for the fourth successive year at Southbank Centre. Teaming up with structural engineers and glass specialists from Arup, Chipperfield will create a composition using SEFAR® Architecture Vision fabric. The metal-coated fabric mesh, black on one side and metallic on the other, is layered between two sheets of glass and gives the installation's panels both translucent and reflective qualities.

Chipperfield has created a sculptural dialogue between two identical forms, different only in their orientation and aluminium and copper finishes. Each form consists of a series of unframed laminated glass panels with corresponding coloured stainless steel connections. Two Lines oscillates between a sculptural relationship of two orthogonal forms and a regular series of simple vertical elements. The interlayer of 50% mesh gives a stronger materiality to the glass, appearing at times monolithic and dynamically translucent, changing over the course of a day. As a result, the installation creates a variety of different experiences as visitors move within and around it.

Since 2007, many great architects have participated in the Size + Matter project including David Adjaye, Shigeru Ban, Paul Cocksedge, Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete and Marc Newson.

The installation will be in place from September 17 to October 16.

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