If you loved Pop Job, Studio Job’s striking cartoon-like collaboration with Mirage (click here for article) then you’re going to relish this edition of Tile Addict.
As part of the Living With Art exhibition at Albion Barn, British artist and designer Richard Woods created a fantastical swimming pool using his iconic ‘wood’ pattern on ceramic tiles. The ‘wooden’ swimming pool is made up of large format porcelain tiles, each custom-printed with a woodgrain effect in a block print style. The heavily stylized cartoon-like wooden plank design is a signature of this London-based artist. It has been used on various pieces of furniture in a collection called Wrongwoods; a collaboration with Sebastion Wrong for Established & Sons. The design has also featured on floors, walls and façades from many of Woods’ own art exhibitions and custom interior design.
The Surface Design Studio worked with Woods to transfer the artwork’s striking colours onto the tiles. The colours are UV safe and so remain as vibrant as they were on the day they were installed in 2016. The tiles are over-glazed with a commercially rated anti-slip coating.
Woods’ distinctive style and use of bold colours looks very dramatic in the English garden setting at Albion Barn which is located at Old Belcher’s Farm, a 17th Century farmhouse – with a collection of barns and stables – on a large farming estate at the heart of Little Milton, a picturesque Costwold village.
In this setting the owner, Michael Hue-Williams – a renowned international art dealer – has established a contemporary art centre, displaying his own collection and installing shows within a more domestic and intimate setting than the typical industrial lofts of the urban commercial gallery. The grounds have also become a place of exhibition allowing the art collection to spill into nature.
Every corner of the 4-acre property is adorned by exquisite artworks; including a marble bench by Barber Osgerby, and a stainless-steel “rock” by Zhan Wang. The site also plays host to a rotating lineup of exhibitions open by appointment only.
The 3,230-square-foot barn now accommodates a dining room, a small catering kitchen, two offices, attendant library and storage spaces, and the galleries. The centuries-old exterior is coarse and dark: restored original timbers pair with new feather-edged wood siding that’s been stained to look almost charred. Inside is the opposite. Blond oak floors, white walls, and top-lit spaces speak the global language of the art gallery. In deference to the works, the interior envelope is pared down. The contrast between the rough building shells and the smooth, reflective white of the interiors suggests a shift not only in atmosphere but in time itself.
The main barn is compartmentalised into the public galleries that are devised to accommodate different scales of art, dividing the spaces into double height galleries for large sculpture and installations. A single storey extension with skylights for natural light, houses the more intimate scale art, such as paintings and smaller sculptures of installations.
The library is conceived as the focus of the building, a transitional and pivotal space between the private and public spaces. The idea was that once inside the library, one should feel fully surrounded by books, rather than walls. The space is galleried and the ceiling mirrored, giving the sense that the library extends vertically into infinity. The illusion is then broken by an oversized pink skylight, puncturing the ceiling into a deep void, giving a soft and warm natural glow to the books.
The four walls are covered in full height bookshelves, within which four secret doors have been integrated. When closed, the space seems to have no exit, and one is fully immersed in this extensive and wondrous art book collection. The secret doors slide and pivot to create passageways to the galleries or the dining room, or hide a guest loo or a stair to the mezzanine balcony. The back of the pivoting doors are mirrored, so that when opened, they reflect the opposite bookshelves, and continue the impression of being a fully surrounded bibliography.
Architect: Studio Seilern Architects Structural Engineer: TALL Engineers
Services Engineer: Atelier TEN Lighting Consultant: Sutton Vane Associates
Quantity Surveyor: BAQUS Contractor: Lamburn Geekie
Sources: http://www.ifitshipitshere.com/richard-woods-swimming-pool; http://www.interiordesign.net/projects/12287-studio-seilern-architects-transforms-a-centuries-old-barn-into-a-vibrant-art-center/; and http://www.thesurfacedesignstudio.com/digital-tiles-for-swimming-pools
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, December 2017.