Macmillan Science and Education recently invested in part of the Kings Cross regeneration development, bringing together all of its separate divisions to work together in a 'campus' style environment. The company acquired some beautiful historical buildings that make up the campus, one of which is known as 'The Stables', formerly used to house the horses who pulled the horse-drawn omnibuses. Macmillan were keen to celebrate this local history, and wanted to create a focal point for the campus in the form of a life size, white horse statue, positioned within The Stables building.
A team of designers from Macmillan Science and Education came up with the concept to create a saddle for the horse, the saddle acting as a metaphor for stability and balance as the company (and publishing as an industry) embark on a period of substantial change and development, whilst celebrating Macmillan's rich heritage through the beauty of its objects.
It was my role to turn their concept into an art installation. I had access to some stunning documents from the Macmillan archives (ranging from Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland illustrations to the original St. Martin's architects plan) and my brief was to incorporate these documents into the installation.
'We want the installation to be beautiful and really make the most of materials that would otherwise never be seen.'
Firstly, the horse (pictured here) was delivered to my studio, where it lived with me for a few months, while I worked on the saddle.
I borrowed an equestrian saddle, in order to work out the pattern, and I familiarised myself with equestrian terminology. Here, I am working on the stirrups.
Macmillan were keen for me to incorporate their logo into the design.
Book cloths were used for details, such as the brass attachments and rosettes.
Macmillan Science and Education gave me some of their original archive material to use, such as these maps. For their collections of rare manuscripts and first editions, I took scans and printed them out on to the end papers of old books.
The Stirrup Leathers
The Saddle Tree is the base on which the rest of the saddle is built. Usually it is based on wood or a similar synthetic material, and is eventually covered in leather. My Saddle Tree was made from cardboard.
Cutting out the pattern for the seat.
I decided to stitch the fragments of pages and cloths together to represent the unity of the Macmillan Science and Educationn divisions coming together and working together in their new building.
The final installation in The Stables, Macmillan Science and Education, Kings Cross
The team from Macmillan Science and Education sanded and spray-painted the fibre glass horse.