Exterior Artwork Commission Awarded at VISUAL Carlow

The commission to create an art work for the exterior of VISUAL’s iconic building has been awarded to Sky Fold, a project by architects Emmett Scanlon, Jeffrey Bolhuis and Laurence Lord (AP+E). Sky Fold was selected from a very competitive national call to artists and architects.

Due to the Covid 19 restrictions we have had to think about our outdoor spaces in new and creative ways. This commission brings the inside out and playfully dissolves parts of VISUAL’s exterior with mirrored surfaces, connecting with the natural world. Sky Fold prompts an important consideration about the use of outdoor public space and the places that we create to inspire and support people as they go about their daily lives, now and for the future.

The winning architects said…
As we move into year two of a pandemic, our world has become off limits, lines, boundaries and restrictions. This work seeks to explore the dissolution of such boundaries and limits and explore the positive social potential of ambiguity, of uncertainty and of a future optimistic freedom to go where we want, when we want.

Sky Fold considers VISUAL a place of welcome. Made from within architecture, this installation seeks to articulate the relationship between buildings, people and the natural environment. The work operates at two scales in particular – that of the building itself and that of the visitor.

The selection panel were very impressed with the responses to this open call.

“The range, diversity and quality of responses to this Open Call was impressive and made the selection task an enjoyable challenge. In a very strong shortlist, Sky Fold stood out as a simple and elegant proposal. It responds beautifully to the architecture of the building and context but also proposes an unfolding outward of the gallery space in an open and welcoming manner.”
– Emma Geoghegan, architect, urban designer and educator engaged in the design of beautiful, purposeful and resilient places for people.

“I was very impressed with the imaginative range and artistic quality of proposals submitted for Open Call. The judging process was enjoyable in terms of engaging with all of these ideas. Marking them was more difficult but I am delighted that Sky Fold emerged as the selected project. A deceptively simple intervention that opens out the VISUAL building at a time when we are all exploring the possibilities of art beyond the gallery space, this work will be a unique and beautiful addition to the building and the ideas that are central to VISUAL.”
– Tadhg O’Sullivan, film-maker, editor, sound designer and sound recordist based in Carlow, Ireland. He is University College Cork Film Artist in Residence for 2021.

The panel commended two other projects Christopher Steenson for Wren Radio and Phoebe Brady, Sarah Doheny, Cineal Research & Design and Ciana March for Iar Dearcadh.

Sky Fold will be unveiled to the public on May 1st and remain until October 2021.

About the Architects:

Emmett Scanlon is an architect, graduating with a Masters of Architecture from UCD in 2000. His work is concerned with the relationship between people and buildings and the role and purpose and impact of architecture on our everyday lives. He is the host and producer of the podcast What Do Buildings Do All Day? which is now the most popular podcast on this subject produced in Ireland.

Laurence Lord is co-founder of AP+E and a lecturer with Queen’s University Belfast. Laurence has 15 years of experience as an architect, working in Dublin, London and Copenhagen.

Jeffrey Bolhuis is a Dutch architect, co-founder of AP+E and design tutor at the Technical University Delft. Jeffrey has 16 years of experience as an architect, working in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Dublin.

Laurence and Jeffrey co-founded AP+E in 2013. AP+E is an office for design & research based in Ireland & The Netherlands. The practice is driven by a strong interest in the social and cultural value of architecture. The office strives to create a positive lasting impact on our world whilst ensuring minimal impact to our environment.

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