Short description:

This series of artistic and poetic interventions is inspired by the works of one of Summertown’s most famous former residents, J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. The spatial layout takes symbolic inspiration from the iconic front cover, with the Sun- and Moon- inspired sculptures sitting at opposite ends.

The daytime presence of the Sun Sculpture captures sunlight to cast gently shifting patterns across the floor, at times forming a magical light gateway. This begins the poetic journey from twilight to midnight, a conversation between the Sun and Moon connected by light and shadow poetry across the walkway.

Project design process:

I integrated light and text artworks into the landscape scheme of this multi-use development in Summertown, Oxford, UK, working with Guarda Landscape Architects. I primarily used lighting techniques to change the look and experience of the space throughout the day and into the evening.

I chose J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ (that he wrote in the area) as the inspiration for the scheme. The front cover illustration shows both the sun and moon in the sky at the same time. I decided to use this for the spatial layout of my installations so as to create a conversation using light between the two celestial beings.

The Sun sculpture acts as a gateway to the section of public realm, and either begins or ends the journey of the words lit from under the benches at night. Sunlight projects through the sculpture during the day, at times aligning South to North to create the door/gateway symbol used throughout Tolkien’s work.

At night, the Sun sculpture is illuminated by iGuzzini recessed luminaires, and a ring of light is projected from a Selux gobo onto the circle of paving that surrounds the piece. This gives a floor-based reference to the sun shape, and the ring in the Hobbit.

The Moon piece has a subtle daytime presence of stone embedded in the floor, but is illuminated at night by another Selux gobo with words “…and then there was night’ to begin the evening walk through the space.

The light and shadow words emanating from the benches create a magical walkway that activates the public realm at night to engage residents and visitors alike, and is a wonderful alternative to purely functional pavement lighting. I have developed this system and effect through temporary installations on benches across the UK as part of an ongoing series of works entitled ‘The Stories Under Our Feet’.

The poem is best experienced through the spatial layout for full comprehension, as I worked with the text to create a poem possible to be read on either approach through the space.

This project creates a cohesive and magical experience of the space through interconnected artworks combining poetry and light.

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