We worked with young Austrian artist Esther Stocker – selected following a competition process – early on in the design stages for an office building on Hanover Square, with an ambition to create a bespoke commissioned piece of artwork which was integral with the building fabric, and shared the values of the building design as a contemporary but sensitive addition to its location.
What attracted us to Esther's work was her interest in structure, communicated simply and minimally but also with a level of intrigue as the structure always appeared incomplete or partially masked. Specifically Esther was interested in patterns of structure that are ordered and disordered at the same time – the idea that parts of a structure can become autonomous. She saw a complexity within the grid and a repetitive structure which she felt related to office life: that there is routine, but within that, individuality.
Esther was drawn to the design of 5 Hanover Square, and found a connection to the architectural framework of the grid which provided her with a cognitive rhythm. Her tendency towards a monographic palette – in this case black granite laser cut to inlay white Thassos marble – resonated with the black brick and white render of the building.
The artwork had two locations; one a full height wall flanking the main reception area and lift lobby, which travels beyond the glazed entrance screen to wrap around the external elevation facing Hanover Square, and another set in series of three metal casings over five floors of the building as it faces Hanover Street.
The Artist's View
Esther Stocker: I created a geometric pattern based on a grid system developed through formal investigations of regularity and irregularity, presence and absence. The white geometric shapes lead us like light-points from one side of the building to the other, potentially from the outside to the inside, creating the idea of a geometrical universe. I feel that the white geometric signs allow for an open process that constantly invites connections to be made but is in fact a never-ending process, a kind of 'eternal return'.
With a consideration of the context of 5 Hanover Square, the relations between forms are as important as the forms. The visual sign should include the thought that the structure operates on a defined and complex form – the building itself – which again is part of a more complex urban situation.