Perspectives by John Pawson

Landmark Project

17 — 25 Sept 2011

Architecture / Landscape, Industrial & Product Design, Materials

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Churchyard



John Pawson's Perspectives project formed part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul's, supported by Swarovski.

Offered a unique chance to work in the Cathedral's rarely seen Geometric Staircase, Pawson created Perspectives, a work imaginatively designed to reveal the genius of Sir Christopher Wren's 17th century masterpiece in ways the viewer could not ordinarily see. The elegant spiralling staircase, built to provide access through the Dean's door to the upper levels of the cathedral, including the library, is not usually on view to the public. Collaborating with Swarovski Crystal Palace, Pawson created a precision-made meniscus - the largest lens possible to manufacture. This was located at the bottom of the stairwell, sitting on a much larger reflective hemisphere, with a spherical convex mirror suspended in the tower's cupola above. Together these optical devices created an extraordinary composite image of the view up through the tower for visitors gathered around the hemisphere at the base, allowing them, as Pawson said; 'to see beyond the level of the naked eye'. Interestingly, Pawson's work fulfilled one of Wren's ambitions - that each of his buildings should include a scientific instrument of some kind. Supported by Swarovski.