Dot-to-Curve-to-Line (Department Store, Liverpool)
The project took two polar opposite starting points – the precise and elusive geometry of a grid in which a single dot is shifted in mathematical increments – and the exquisite, elegant modern-baroque patterns generated from a carnival mask. The project was fascinated by the beauties of the much-derided “extrusion” – now a design taboo, but essential to the development of the Baroque, and specially the relation between its interior elaborations and its comparative plainness and optical tricks on the outside.
The extruded patterns generate a detailed study of curved brick construction, moving along an alluring line between modernity and historicism. This is seen first in a brick pavilion outside Sir John Soane’s Dulwich Picture Gallery. Then it is developed as an exquisite set piece department store in Liverpool — the culmination of a masterplan organised through a sequence of relocated historical monuments (Queen Victoria forms part of the building). The project considers the department store as an elaborate and generous public space, exploring hybrids of architectural language: Baroque meets northern-European Puritanism meets Latin-American extravagance.
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