This is the second of two posts on Robert Dawson that CFile is offering this week. You may know Dawson for his china plates that are imaginative riffs on the classic Willow pattern tableware design, which is the single most successful product in the history of ceramics. But it’s not his bread and butter, that comes from his large-scale installations of murals and building facades. Two more of these have been added to his list, both are in England, one in Croydon and the other in Liverpool. One was a perfect partnership and the other, not as satisfying. This post is about perfection.
For Eloise at the new Premier Inn in Croydon was a collaboration with Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd. and Axiom Architects. It is in a prominent location, adjacent to what will soon be the main route into the town centre from the new, western entrance to East Croydon Station (with an estimated 7 million pedestrian ‘passes’ a year). Croydon Council required that the new Premier Inn building incorporate a work of public art.
Axiom had seen Dawson’s Tiled Room, which was commissioned by The World of Interiors magazine at 100% Design in 1999, and invited him to submit a proposal. The design was more than just a linear composition; the lines have a resonance with the surrounding architecture. Below are drawings from Dawson’s original proposal exploring the context of the adjacent buildings.
The tiles were produced by firing screen-printed dark blue glaze on light blue Villeroy and Boch ceramic tiles. The finished result has great impact for a relatively small wedge of space (although the tiled wall is thirty-five feet high and twelve and a half feet wide). More than that, it has the linear elegance suggestive of the ceramic designs of Josef Hoffman and Koloman Moser of the Viennese Secession movement. Dawson uses line with the same spaciousness and precision.
Garth Clark is Chief Editor of CFile.
Above image: Robert Dawson, For Eloïse, 2013. Print on ceramic tiles. 10.7 x 3.8 meters. The Philip House on Lansdowne Road in Croydon, England. Courtesy of the artist.