window design

In the Window by Sasha Ward

Left, roadside front window before. Right, kitchen window.

Left, roadside front window before. Right, kitchen window.

As you can see in the two pictures above, the windows in my friend’s new house have restricted views. At the back, the kitchen looks on to a concrete wall with tiles and objects positioned wherever they fit. At the front, there is a busy stretch of main road and a pavement close up to the low window. Although she has made it look great with her objects and stick on patterns, she wanted some pieces of my glass in front of the window to block the traffic in a more colourful way.

This was after seeing the rows of random samples I always have in my studio window, slotted into wooden grooves fitted across the window frames. At the moment (below right) I have my most recent samples, some colour test strips and a few samples that stay every time I have a reshuffle so I suppose they must be my favourites. I’ve used grooved wood for shelves in the window since I was a student at the Royal College of Art (years ago, picture below left), with a great view of the Albert Hall and a changing display of the pieces I was painting on top of a backlit piece of glass.

Left, my window at The Royal College of Art in 1985. Right, my studio window this week (2019).

Left, my window at The Royal College of Art in 1985. Right, my studio window this week (2019).

Left, roadside window after. Right, colours through the glass.

Left, roadside window after. Right, colours through the glass.

Choosing glass offcuts or old samples, cutting them up and arranging them in a row is like making a fragment-style stained glass window. That is, anything looks OK but there is an art to the ordering and cropping. These pieces are big at 400 mm tall, and from many different periods so I did a bit of work to unite them with two rows of circles sandblasted out and filled with green enamel. It means that you can still play around with the order and orientation of the pieces. The best part, as always, was seeing the colours projected through the glass on to the carpet in the afternoon sun (above right).

Detail of three panels, originally samples for The Centre Livingston, private house & Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Detail of three panels, originally samples for The Centre Livingston, private house & Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Colour sequence by Sasha Ward

This is part of a project I have been doing in the paediatric mortuary at Manchester Childrens’ Hospital. Over the past two years I have designed artworks for a suite of five rooms following extensive consultation with bereaved parents and hospital staff and negotiated with manufacturers and the hospital estates department to get the works, made of vinyl and glass, installed.

Vinyl detail:  Double doors leading to the mortuary:  Locked doors in the corridor

Vinyl detail: Double doors leading to the mortuary: Locked doors in the corridor

The overall scheme is now starting to come together with new colours on the walls and coloured vinyl on the door vision panels. These make an impact that is much larger than their size and help you find your way through the maze of windowless rooms that make up this backwater of the hospital building. The design on the vinyl is simple, the complicated part is the layered printing so that one half of each panel is translucent and the other is opaque i.e. a colour printed over a white layer. In the detail shown above left the blue is opaque and the yellow is translucent therefore it glows as you approach the double doors to the (badly sign posted) mortuary. In the next part of the corridor there is a pair of locked doors so the vinyl on these has a different design that is totally opaque - attractive but hopefully uninviting (above right).

Entrance door:  Babies’ room door: Children’s room door with room light on and off

Entrance door: Babies’ room door: Children’s room door with room light on and off

The main pattern is ordered, simple and gentle rather than geometric and rigid. The entrance door to the waiting area is green/blue, this leads to the babies’ room (blue/yellow) and the children’s room (yellow/green)- all shown above. The back door of the babies’ room is also blue/yellow but with the translucent and opaque sides reversed, while the back of the children’s room is blue/pink - all shown below. When the light behind the door is off you can see the colour on the opaque part of the design, while the translucent part appears very dark. This is a technique I have borrowed from my glass designs where I use textured opaque areas so that some colour is visible in a variety of light conditions. So far I’m happy with the installation which is still in progress - the colours are spot on.

Door at back of babies’ room with lights on and off: Back of children’s room

Door at back of babies’ room with lights on and off: Back of children’s room