Voltaire’s Vibrant Lavatories

On Friday Clapham-based not-for-profit arts organisation Studio Voltaire reopened with a fresh face. Revitalising this important space by creating 42% more artist studios, a kitchen, a workshop, and two residency studios, this project has gone well beyond improving the look and utility of Studio Voltaire.

ExCinere tiles in The Garden | Photo credit: Benedict Johnson

Amongst these improvements is a refreshed garden and entrance space (complete with volcanic ash glazed tiles ExCinere), a restored Victorian mission hall, and most excitingly of all – three public toilets. It’s not everyday a public toilet makes you smile, but these particular beauties are right up our street.

Artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan are responsible for this toilet-centred joy having produced three installations across the bathrooms titled The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self). Each is a joyful burst of colour where pattern is created by varying the stacking and layout of tiles.

Whilst two of the bathrooms focus on colour-blocking, the third offers cartoonish vibes, stars, and whimsy. Working with heritage tile poducers Craven Dunnill Jackfield, Tatham and O’Sullivan specified bespoke glazed tiles in 10 shades to create and replicate recurring motifs within their own works.

From 15th October to 2nd January Studio Voltaire’s gallery will hols a major exhibition of Californian artist, William Scott – the first significant survey of the artist’s prolific 30-year practice with 70 paintings, drawings and sculptures, from the early 1990s to present.

Studio Voltaire
Craven Dunnill Jackfield
Tatham & O’Sullivan
Dzek

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, October 2021.

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