Speirs + Major have recently completed the lighting of a new exhibition featuring the works of renowned wood sculptor David Nash.
This project is one of a number of collaborations between Speirs + Major and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew
. The Walters and Cohen
designed building was originally lit by the practice in 2008. Nash, one of the UK’s most prolific sculptors, is participating in a garden-wide exhibition involving the production and exhibition of his work across the Gardens from April 2012 through to April 2013.
Now open to members of the public, sculptures, installations, drawings and film are in place throughout the Gardens, glasshouses, and exhibition spaces. During the exhibition period, Nash will work at Kew on a ‘wood quarry’ from April 2012, creating new pieces for the exhibition using trees from the Gardens that have come to the end of their natural life.
The exhibition lighting was designed to ensure the works are revealed in the appropriate context, revealing the forms and textures of the sculptural pieces. Nash’s work reveals a deep collaboration between the artist, his material, and the natural world, and this approach reflects the character of the exhibition as a whole – the viewing experience will change and evolve from visit to visit, due to the nature of the materials used and the changing seasons. Given this, it was agreed that even within the context of the gallery it was critical that daylight played a role. In a first for the gallery, the clerestory blinds have been removed both to allow light in, and also to provide a visual connection back to the park. The natural light is supplemented by track-mounted spotlights that are carefully positioned to create appropriate modeling on the wood pieces, and to highlight the artworks.
The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art will be used for the duration of the Nash exhibition, with additional work to be added in October 2012.