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Jubilee 2 Health and Wellbeing Centre swimming pool glazing screen, Newcastle-under-Lyme

By  Saranjit Birdi 2011 - 2012

Saranjit Birdi

This commission for the Jubilee 2 Centre swimming pool glazing was installed January 2012 and comprises of a digital collage work that spans over 50m of glazing reaching heights of 4m. This work, titled 'Return of the Raven', is a variation based on a series I call 'Flight Of the Raven' started in 1998 which a visual interpretation of a jazz piece of music of the same title by Don Grusin . Uncannily, I discovered that the Raven, now a protected species, is returning to the central areas of Britain after 50 years. The project was an amazing journey for me and the communication between the client, artist, fabricator, architect and town planning one of mutual respect, support and commitment. When I visited Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre I was struck by the views in-between buildings, to the distant landscape. This rhythm of building and vista seemed like breathing in and out and a metaphor for swimming. I was also fascinated by the elegant, contemporary architecture of the new building. A crucial element of the work was that it complemented the architecture and 'spoke the same aesthetic language'. In creating the final work, technical issues raised by the Planning Department- such as limiting use of bright colours- and the architect's concerns about minimising the use of yellows and greens because of its effects on perceived skin colour, were taken into consideration. The design builds up to a crescendo from the East Elevation round to the North which leads towards the town centre. The design had to work both from the outside-and inside out during day and night. The artwork process took over four months and involved detail meetings with the client, Planning Department, Architect and installation team. The colours had to take into account street impact as well as colour reflections off the water on to skin. An important factor that ensured the success of this commission was the confidence and support from the Client, Department of Planning and Architect and the installation team all of whom I thank immensely.

Saranjit Birdi

Saranjit Birdi

Saranjit Birdi

Martin Summerfield

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