An installation for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, home to more than four million items of historical and contemporary art and design. We pressed punched metal to create a transparent chair with a seemingly soft back rest, and placed it in the main entrance and ten other locations within the museum including galleries, staircases and corridors.
For each location, we modified the chair to mimic the particular space and objects with which it was placed, so that it accords with its environment. We hoped that visitors might discover a new side to the museum’s appeal by sitting on different chairs to observe, absorb and appreciate its collection.
1. Main entrance: One chair with the basic principles used in all of the other designs. 2. Stair P: By placing chairs on the staircase, a space ordinarily used only for movement becomes a lounge. 3. Lift O: An assemblage of chairs stacked like elevators moving up and down.
4. Medieval & renaissance – room 64b: Chairs stacked and balanced to mimic the medieval spiral staircase next to them. 5. Medieval & renaissance – room 50b: Sets of chairs – one adult-sized, one or two child-sized – placed for observing a sculpture of the Madonna and child, connected to form ‘mother and child’ chairs. 6. Leignton – room 107: Chairs rhythmically aligned like footsteps, along a long, narrow gallery like a corridor.
7. Stair M: A chair with a ‘window’ in its back rest, in which floats another, smaller chair. 8. Paintings – room 82: A group of chairs of varying sizes, massed together to mirror the massing of small and large paintings on the walls of this gallery. 9. Paintings – room 87: A richly undulating landscape of chairs, for looking at landscape paintings.
10. Tapestries – room 94: Chairs that frame the gallery space, like the tapestries that dramatically crop the gallery walls. 11. Sculpture – room 21-25: Our seat for looking at cast plaster busts is a bench that expresses the relationship between the mold and the plaster bust.