Friday, July 30, 2010


Ratatosk, by architects Helen & Hard, is part of Architects Build Small Spaces at the V&A. Set in the John Madejeski Gardens, this installation of split Ash, woven willow and shredded bark comes with an invitation to explore.
Please touch is very much the message, with the audience invited to enter the structure and experience the variety of tactile surfaces and the scents of the wood. The inner surfaces have been digitally sculpted and smoothed to enhance their natural beauty. From the interior the negative spaces between the trunks are brought into sharp relief.
For me there was a sense of sanctuary within the structure and I wondered if this was due to the intimacy of the space or being surrounded by natural materials. The materials and the nature of their placing led me to consider the similarities with ancient wooden henges, also made from split tree trunks, did they too offer their users a feeling of sanctuary?

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