Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Grayson Perry: A House For Essex

I really like the look of, and want to visit this new building - A House for Essex, which is a collaboration between artist/potter Grayson Perry, and FAT architects for Living Architecture, when it is finished. It will be a holiday home available to rent from summer 2015.

The building is situated in the north Essex countryside at Wrabness. Living Architecture describes the project thus:- "The house is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Grayson Perry exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex. the building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels. It belongs to a history of follies, whilst being deeply of its own time."

It really reminds me of architectural projects (albeit on a smaller scale), such as House for an Art Lover by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Viennese Secession architect Josef Hoffman's Palais Stoclet. These buildings were designed as total works of art, (Gesamtkunstwerk), where as well as designing the building and furniture to go inside the houses, even the smallest details such as light fittings and door handles were designed by Mackintosh in the House for an Art Lover, and Hoffman and fellow Wiener Werkstatte designers providing the furnishings and fittings and Gustav Klimt providing murals and artwork in the Palais Stoclet.

 Mackintosh - House for an Art Lover, (exterior)

 Mackintosh - House for an art Lover, (interior)

Hoffman - Palais Stoclet, (exterior)

Hoffman - Palais Stoclet, (interior)
Perry and FAT architects bring much of the Gesamtkunstwerk spirit to A House for Essex. It reminds me of something from a fairy-tale and also those old onion-domed chapels dotted around Russia. The tile-work outside gives it a really decorative quality, and the interiors will be equally decorative, filled with specially commissioned tapestries, pottery, mosaics and woodwork commissioned from Perry. I am really looking forward to seeing what artworks Perry creates for the interior next year. 

Perry says of the project:- "The idea behind this project relates to buildings put up as memorials to loved ones, to follies, to eccentric home-built structures, to shrines, lighthouses and fairytales. I have a deep fondness for Essex and I am happy to invest a large chunk of my energy and time into a project that I feel will add greatly to the cultural standing of the area."