For London Design Festival 2017, Australian designer Flynn Talbot filled the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Prince Consort Gallery with an immersive colored light installation, called the Reflection Room. Talbot’s aim was to transform the 35-metre-long gallery, which was once a storage space for more than 30,000 textile samples, into an immersive “colour experience”.
The vaulted space is lit at each end to highlight and define the dramatic 35m length of the gallery, its ceiling structure, and visitors to the installation. It is illuminated with Talbot’s signature of complementary blue and orange lighting, and large black reflective Barrisol panels are used to expand the width of the space, offering a fragmented view of shifting colours, faceted reflections and light.
“Reflection Room is a completely site-specific work,” explains Talbot, an Australian lighting designer living and working in London. “I conceived the idea standing in the gallery, and wanted to add my story on top of the beautiful existing architecture, but not to take it over. I wanted to add to its beauty and to exhibit in a new way with an abstracted view of the existing cabinets and amazing ceiling structure. With all of my work I want to create new experiences using light that build a connection between people and place.”
Refection Room uses 56 custom-made stretch membrane Barrisol panels in gloss black. Woven within the panels, at each end of the room, are strips of orange and blue LEDs, a combination of colours that Talbot explains is becoming something of a signature and believes “creates a certain magic”.
The resulting play of verticals serves to transform the space into a vivid chapel of coloured light.” I want want people to explore the gallery – moving, shifting, stopping, meandering,” says Talbot. ” The visitors are an integral part of installation. Each person will be lit in a unique way of depending on where they are standing, adding to the rich depth of reflections within the gallery.”
The room is lined with wooden cupboards that open to reveal a series of drawers where precious artefacts were once kept. ” The history of the Prince Consort Gallery space is incredible,” Talbot notes. ” At one time there were upwards of 30,000 textile samples stored here. Each one with its own story, colours, patterns, textures. I wanted to do an ultra-modern take on this and use very modern materials like Barrisol. Their stretch membrane material is like nothing else and for me is like a futuristic textile.”
all images © Edmund Sumner