One plus six

"Sevenfold" merges old and new at The Met, Manchester/UK.

The historic building was recently refurbished, with a unique installation completing the renovation work. The installation designed by artist Liz West is suspended in the centre of the main staircase in the entrance like a huge, colourful and highly modern chandelier. The artwork is entitled "Sevenfold" and hangs at the same height as a large window, thus allowing natural light and artificial light to mix and blend over the course of the day. "Sevenfold" takes its reference from Newton’s rainbow sequence of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Seven (six prisms in the main installation plus one mini above the reception desk) individual and vast prisms have been created that use mirrors to further radiate colour and reflect elements of the beautifully restored Victorian architecture, supplement the daylight, provide contrast to the predominantly white surfaces, harmonise with the wood, radiate against the intricacy of the Victorian plasterwork, create shadow patterns and underscore shapes and forms. The mirrors incorporated into the prisms contribute towards spreading the light up into the entire stairwell so the colours can be perceived everywhere. Sometimes to intense effect, sometimes simply a delicate reference to a subtle hue. As visitors ascend the staircase they find themselves at eye level with the artwork, giving the chance to marvel "Sevenfold" at its luminous best and enjoy the visual spectacle of what the artwork does to the space. The lighting installation designed by Liz West uses the past – the historic environment – to illuminate the future, the modernisation of the building – in a very special way.

Design: Liz West