“An ingenious idea, linking architect-artist collaborations around the city – we need more events like this” says Paul Zara of Conran and Partners one of 5 Brighton-based architecture practices which took part in the Welcome Trail in June.
The Welcome Trail was part of Love Architecture 2012 Festival and engaged 5 ‘teams’ of architects and artists in Brighton. Curator Gem Barton matched together local artists and architecture practices with a view to engaging the public beyond the street and get them in to the ‘office’ to experience the design environment. The artists were invited to create installations responding to the practice and/or it’s environment, be it on a small window sill, a grand staircase or a meeting room.
The ‘teams’ were as follows:
Typographic Tweets invited tweeters to express an opinion, a view, an idea, contentious or otherwise, about architecture, which were designed into a typographic urban landscape.
Strips of texts rising up the window in different shades of white, grey and frost give the impression of a skyline where the lettering, absent their counters (spaces in letters), ‘light’ up the architectural form. [Fabrication and installation by Nik-the-Brush.]
Screening brings together different elements that relate to each other. The outcome plays with meaning using objects to consider scale and as a means to support the structure that they are displayed on. The structure built for this exhibition performs as both frame and object.
Artist Mike Newman and Architect Olli Blair of A:B:I:R discuss the installation. Olli is also the Chair or RIBA Sussex.
Conran & Partners + Jim Stephenson present COLLABORATION
Whilst the majority of the artist/architect pairings were previously unacquainted, architectural photographer Jim Stephenson has been capturing Conran & Partners’ buildings all over the world for the last 5 years. This existing relationship brought a new dimension to the Welcome Trail. Jim says, “The exhibition highlights some of this work and includes my photographs alongside C&P’s original sketches, drawings and documentation.”
Mohsin Cooper Architects worked closely with the artist Daniel Wilkins, who is also a trainee architect, to develop a concept for a relief model that explores the dynamic relationship and boundaries that exists between architectural model-making and art practice.
The design concept for the model was developed using one of the practice’s projects for a modular office pod as a starting point exploring notions of place, form and sculptural relief as a palimpsest.
Artist Lisa Chant tells us about her sculptures formed from household paint. “I have recently been working on small wall constructions, I often work directly onto a wall surface building up layers of paint, making installations that are centred around architectural features. I view the movement and physical behaviour of the paint as mimicking the physical behaviour of the human body.”
Lap Chan, Director at Morgan Carn describes his involvement in the project: “The aim of the project was to demystify the design process by encouraging the general public to engage with architects by visiting architects offices to view site specific art installations.
Our involvement entailed meeting the artist on site to agree the exact location of the installation and how the work could interact with the office environment so that the office became an integral part of the installation and showed off the work of the artist as well as the architects.
The result was thought provoking and stimulating as it resulted in plenty of discussion together with alien interventions as people added pieces to the work so that it evolved and provided constantly changing installation”
Designer, writer, curator and lecturer Gem Barton also produced a car park bay sized installation herself to promote the Welcome Trail at Brighton’s Threshold Architecture Hub – a pop-up architecture hub held in the underground car park of MyHotel which was also part of the Love Architecture Festival. The installation was an enlarged version of the trail map itself, using simple materials such as laser cut MDF and Ping-Pong balls to bring the piece to life. There are plans to increase the size of the Welcome Trail for next year’s festival; we suggest you get involved with this honourable mission and support local architecture and design. Any practice that readily encourages the public to step inside their design environment and speak with/question them whilst viewing commissioned, bespoke, site-specific artwork deserves a thumbs up.