Andrew Moor Associates, the well-known glass art specialists, designed the unusual glass cladding panels for the façade of the recently opened ‘John Lewis at home’ store in Newbury. There are more than 75 square metres of these beautiful flowing panels that form an integrated part of the cladding of the building as well as creating the illusion that behind the glass façade there are enormously long soft flowing curtains. In reality there is nothing but concrete behind these glass walls. It is this use of glass to turn this two dimensional flat surface into a soft three dimensional illusion that is so unique to this building.
The motif of curtains is of course related to the main focus of the store which is ‘state of the art’ home furnishings. This conversion of the flat cladding material into a soft yet subtle image is a brilliant example of how glass is now used to add something unique to the architecture of a building and at the same time reinforces the brand of occupant. The more you look at these panels the more convinced you are there is a hidden interior behind the drifting fabric. The glass creates a slightly mysterious effect, but one that is also warm and inviting.This use of images in glass is an excellent way for any building to assert its brand without using obviously brash graphics. These panels are clearly a part of the building and will be a successful part of the cityscape for many years to come. They will not fade, and they create something that is a genuine work of art, yet beautifully assimilated into the language and design of the architecture. This is a gentle art that is not desperate for attention but is having a warm and positive effect on the external environment while being used by the store to create an inviting and relevant exterior.
This is a brilliant illustration of how images in glass cladding can be used to good effect, both for the external environment and for the commercial interests of the building’s occupant. Public Art of this sort wins the hearts and minds of all parties. The cost is modest, the effect is subtle but large, and the art integrates itself into the space as if it had always been there, adding something but not desperate for attention. All of the above is made possible by the use of the latest technologies which make the creation of digital images in glass very low cost, and relatively easy to incorporate into standard glazing structures. The possibilities are enormous and only the future will reveal where this will lead.
See also John Lewis