Artwork by Martin Boyce is a feature of Steven Holl Architects’ new Reid Building at The Glasgow School of Art

A new piece by the Turner Prize winning artist Martin Boyce is to be the feature artwork in the entrance to the new Reid Building at The Glasgow School of Art it was revealed today.

Steven Holl Architects’ design for the new building at The Glasgow School of Art envisaged a glass artwork integrated into the double height entrance that would echo Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s use of glass in the original Art School. The design team approached the artist to make a signature piece for the Reid Building that would be an embodiment of the fusion of art and architecture.

“Marking the entrance of our new building at the Glasgow School of Art is a flourish of colored glass catching and projecting washes of light by Martin Boyce,” says Steven Holl. “We see this color in positive contrast to the original colors of Mackintosh and an inspiration to students and the community.”

Boyce’s work takes the form of a 4.3m x 8.9m hanging screen of steel and glass geometric vines. Nineteen steel frames are suspended vertically from the ceiling at fixed points. Each vertical line sprouts a number of horizontal branches which support 122 glass “leaves.” There are four different sizes of glass leaf in seven different colors. The layering of the colored glass and steel vines across the width of the glazed area above the main entrance produces a complex array of pattern and color.

The color palette of the glass panels emerged from research by the design team into the stained glass in the Mackintosh building. The colors were then processed and their complementary colors were found. The greens and autumnal browns and oranges fed into the development of the piece furthering the relationship between abstract and natural forms.

From the Mackintosh’s building exterior to the finest details found in a door handle or light fitting the marriage of nature and design is expressed. This chain of relationships and details, from macro to micro and back again has had a profound influence on Martin Boyce’s working practice. It is in the history of such working methodologies that this new work acknowledges Mackintosh while simultaneously looking forward with the architecture of the Reid Building.

“We are delighted that Steven Holl Architects should have selected one of our alumni to create the signature artwork for the Reid Building design,” says Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art. “Martin’s colored glass curtain of vines will create a threshold through which hundreds of students will enter the GSA to study, work and play, then leave us to go out into the world as creative thinkers and makers.”

Manufacture of the artwork has been made possible with a Production & Presentation grant from Creative Scotland.