Royal College of Art – Terrazzo Floor

‘Celebrating Pattern in London’s Architecture’.

‘Frieze collaborates with Tate Britain, the National Gallery, RCA, Sketch Gallery and ICA on the 2017 marketing campaign. From contemporary concepts to Renaissance painting, we have worked with important cultural institutions to create the campaigns for Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2017. Showcasing striking design and beautiful floors around London. Photography by Luke Hayes with Art Direction by Amy Preston’. Frieze London 2017.

Royal College of Art, Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

I was delighted to see my work featured in the Frieze London 2017 Marketing Campaign. My in-situ polychrome terrazzo and cut marble floor was quietly celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary in 2017, since it was commissioned by the RCA for the main entrance and reception of the new Darwin Building in 1987. The work was manufactured and installed by Diespeker & Co. I worked closely throughout in collaboration with Diespeker’s and the RCA. As stated – I was surprised and delighted to see it featured again in this way.

I recently made contact with the Photographer Luke Hayes to enquire about any other images he may have of the work, which didn’t make the original campaign. He has generously allowed me access to these images, which I reproduce here with his kind permission. I have very few images myself – and no digital images – and appear to have very little by way of documentation. I graduated from the RCA in 1985 and I think I was commissioned whilst I was still a post-grad student in Ceramics. This makes some sense, as the design for the floor was very much an extension of the work I was doing in ceramics, which was focussed on Architectural form and decoration. I was pretty amazed to see it was still in such good condition. Terrazzo is an amazing material and I have used it-  rather sporadically I admit – throughout my career and had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing craftspeople at Diespeker’s and Pallam Precast,  now part of Quality Marble.

 

Royal College of Art 1987. Darwin Building. Jay Mews Entrance. Terrazzo Floor. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Unknown

 

Above: From what I can recall, this  (poor quality) image was taken just after the final grinding & completion of the floor by Diespeker’s. It hadn’t been cleaned or polished and was very dusty – just like me in the image.

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017 (Cropped Image 2019)

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017 (Cropped Image 2019)

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Royal College of Art, London. Detail: Terrazzo & Marble floor installed 1987. Artist: Christopher Tipping. Image: Luke Hayes 2017

 

Between 1985 / 87 during the delivery of this project, I had no access to digital processes or computers – although they had recently started to appear at the RCA. The original artwork was hand drawn and painted in gouache. Templates for the timber formwork were first drawn up full scale and processed in the RCA’s timber workshops on Jay Mews. I suppose what it did, was reinforce the hand made and craft process associated with the manufacture of the work. I do remember sanding off the tip of one of my fingers in the workshop. I had so little money in those post student days, that I also recall walking all the way from Terrazzo manufacturer Diespeker’s old premises at Diespeker Wharf Wharf, Islington, back to my old studio at Loughborough Junction on Coldharbour Lane, South London, carrying a pile of terrazzo samples.

 

Below: Really interesting to work briefly with Luke’s images to re-imagine some new designs for the same floor. Digital processes we have instantly available in minutes today would have taken me days to produce similar painted patterns in 1987.

 

RCA Re-imagined artwork for terrazzo & marble floor 2019 from original image by Photographer: Luke Hayes 2017

 

RCA Re-imagined artwork for terrazzo & marble floor 2019 from original image by Photographer: Luke Hayes 2017

 

RCA Re-imagined artwork for terrazzo & marble floor 2019 from original image by Photographer: Luke Hayes 2017

 

RCA Re-imagined artwork for terrazzo & marble floor 2019 from original image by Photographer: Luke Hayes 2017

 

RCA Re-imagined artwork for terrazzo & marble floor 2019 from original image by Photographer: Luke Hayes 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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