Reflections on a landmark

The Barbican: beauty or brute? It’s an enduring question, and one that has been interpreted by many artists since its concrete blocks arose out of a London bomb site in the 1960s. Now it’s the turn of Kate Maestri, a glass artist, to ponder the question. She plumps for a glowingly positive interpretation, basing a series of wall-based glass sculptures (see top) on the architects’ original drawings, unearthed in the Museum of Domestic Architecture and Design in Middlesex. Inspired by the overall clarity of the Barbican’s design, Maestri has rendered its elevations and sections in warm, human hues, creating a new expression of the building’s geometric language. Her minimal, stained-glass panels are mounted upon sculptural Perspex holders, so each three-dimensional piece hovers above the wall. The result is an abstract, meditative homage to a landmark building, celebrated for using bespoke craftmanship for even the smallest details. Maestri’s architectural commissions, shown here, appear equally distinctive for their intuitive use of bold colour, light and form, so it’s not surprising that she has worked for Foster & Partners to produce a 100m ribbon of coloured glass that runs through the hi-tech interior of The Sage concert hall in Gateshead. Maestri is certainly capable of capturing the finer touches of architecture, and translating its magic to her chosen medium – another point scored for the Barbican’s reputation as a cultural beauty.

Reflecting Forward: Kate Maestri is at Craft Central, 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1 until 9 February

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