The Ogham Wall by Grafton Architects

V&A Project

19 — 27 Sept 2015

Architecture / Landscape, Materials

Victoria & Albert Museum

Cromwell Road



London Design Festival joined forces with Irish Design 2015 to commission a major installation designed by Grafton Architects and Graphic Relief. Located in the V&A’s Tapestry Gallery, the commission was part of a year-long programme celebrating Ireland’s creative talent.

The project brought together Stirling Prize-nominee Grafton Architects and concrete experts Graphic Relief to create a large-scale installation in response to the theme put forward by Irish Design 2015: ‘Liminal – Irish design at the threshold.’ Inspired by the Irish Ogham alphabet, which dates from around the 4th century, The Ogham Wall interpreted letters from this ancient language as an architectural construct of three-metre-high cast concrete ‘fins’. A central linear element brought order to the installation, with an arrangement of smaller perpendicular and angled fins projecting off it to create an abstract rendering of each letter. Graphic Relief crafted the 23 fins from rough concrete combined with metal details. The surface of each fin was then polished to a smooth finish in some parts, contrasting with slight material imperfections in others that are an intentional by-product of the experimental casting process. Each Ogham letter traditionally references the name of a species of tree and Grafton Architects worked with Graphic Relief to cast magnified and abstracted tree-bark patterns into the fins. The result was a tactile surface that referenced the richly textured tapestries in the room, and was described by Grafton as “man-made geology that is beautiful to touch and to look at”. Supported by Irish Design 2015. Further support by SEAM and TM Lighting.