Distance of a shadow
As we approach the shortest day of the year, the hours of sunlight reduce and the sun is lower in the sky. Shadows extend further and further from their source, into the landscape.
Set across 1,962 sq m in North Wales, we designed an interactive installation to encourage visitors to explore light and shadow during winter. Visitors can walk through the markers to measure the distance shadows fall on different days and times, highlighting how light changes throughout the year.
We were commissioned by Charlie Gladstone and Hawarden Estate Experience to design and produce the installation for their winter 2021-2022 exhibition. 12 artists and designers took part, with works set across the farm shop grounds in Hawarden, North Wales.
The installation comes to life visually through a grid-like framework of wood-stained markers signifying the distance the shadow is falling from the visitor. There are 16 markers set out in 10 m intervals, from 0 m to 50 m.
The installation continues after sunset with spotlights sequenced to alternate, creating a pattern of light in place of the sun. Through different opportunities to experience the scale of winter sun and shadows during these winter months, explorers to the estate gain a new perspective of light and shadow.
We produced a number of cardboard prototypes ahead of the woodwork production. We tested form, scale of type and legibility, amount of material being used and fixing methods for the hemp type components.
Referencing the movement of the sun, the type rises across each face of the post. The type connects from one face to the other, allowing it to be read from all sides.
A gradient of colour spans the installation. We utilised off-the-shelf wood stains, more commonly used for garden sheds or furniture. With two coats applied, the posts have a solid protection from the elements in North Wales. Colours used: Clear, mustard yellow, marigold, baby pink, lilac and cornflower.
The ground impact was a careful consideration for the installation. By using a ground spike, more commonly found in fencing, the installation has strength and once removed from the site, it doesn’t leave a trace. It’s similar to a giant tent peg, which ties in well with the field’s purpose for camping during the summer months.
We utilised UK-grown hemp as a hemp fibre panel for the lettering and numbers — one of the first applications of its kind. The material was chosen for its sustainability and reddy-brown colour which contrasts with the warmth of wood-stain beneath. Each component has a unique patina and structure to it, especially when the sunlight catches it.
Client: Hawarden Estate Experience & Charlie Gladstone
Location: Hawarden Estate Farm Shop, Wales
Project scope: Installation design, Production, Installation
Scale: 1,962 sq m
Materials: Water-based stain, white wood, hemp fibre, galvanised steel
Woodwork: Lua Garcia
Studio photography: Tian Khee Siong