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THE SHAPE OF BRICKS

 
Most buildings in London have historically been made from brick and the natural, graphic appearance of brickwork is an integrated part of the architectural identity of London. An unconscious backdrop to people’s daily lives that tap into their emotions and memories.
 
This installation is a response to the abstract, graphic elements of an English Bond brick wall. Separating the wall components into mortar and bricks allowed me to combine their shapes into a different architectural typology, a spatial object. Leaving out the bricks and only showing the space that surrounds them defines the first layer of the new structure, the mortar.  

By casting the structure of the mortar in bronze I introduced a new material and craftsmanship unrelated to the ingredients of standard brickwork. The wall is a 6.6 meters tall continuous self-supporting, transparent structure at the centre of the lobby, separating its two entrances. The large windows at the front of the building allow the sun to project the shadow of the structure onto the floor and wall of the lobby.
 
To create privacy between the two entrances, as requested by the client, I visually obstructed the eye-level view by creating an opaque eco-resin volume within the lower part of the structure. This second layer shows the bricks as separate entities, without the mortar. The resin has a semi-transparent appearance, adapting to the changing light conditions of the lobby throughout the day. When sunlight hits the resin the corners turn almost transparent and after dark LED panels light up inside the volume, creating a subtle glow in the lobby. 
 
Apart from the spatial function of the structure it also invites an emotional response. The matching patterns of the bronze mortar and resin bricks create a continuously changing dialogue and hopefully encourages visitors to reevaluate an everyday object, such as a brick wall, that they might otherwise take for granted.
 
Included in the images as shown there are also 1:1 mockups of two alternative design options, both with the same brick concept but executed using different materials.

At the beginning of the project I invited the construction company Millimetre from Brighton to participate in developing the technical details and executing the final structure. As you can see they did an amazing job. The structural engineer was Peter Laidler from Structure Workshop.

While working for PLP-Architecture I was chosen to pitch for an art installation in the lobby of One Embassy Gardens in Vauxhall, London. By basing the pitch on my previous personal work, PLP were selected for the project. I independently developed the concept and design proposals for two art installations, of which one was finally executed and now feature in the lobby.

The two proposals were The Shape of Bricks (completed January, 2020) and Ulysses in Local Ceramics (not executed), both acknowledging the origins of the client Sean Mulryan (Ballymore), who started his career as a bricklayer in Ireland.