The mottled concrete walls, cut by hand by half a dozen construction workers, are one of the many iconic features of the Barbican Arts Centre and Barbican Estate, nestled into the boundaries of old London. Inspiration for the design and layout of the centre and estate came from sources as diverse as Roman villas, Georgian townhouses, and an exuberant use of planting and water features to maximise the luxurious space across the site.
These details plus many more are features in an interview with Polly Powell, daughter of Geoffry Powell, one of the architects for Chamberlain Powell and Bonn, the firm that built the Barbican. They give some insight into the rich material Stand + Stare have been responding to in our quest to build the Barbican Archive Jukebox.
Other key influences came from leafing through the original branding guidelines and graphics that were used at the time of the 1982 opening, and looking for remnants of those now-dated aesthetic features throughout the interior design of the building.
As well as looking back to see the multi-faceted influences that have made the brutalist structures of the Barbican so iconic, we’ve also been working with the Barbican’s Young Curator’s group to explore what the future of archiving might look like, contemplating how multimedia channels can play a part in enriching people’s experience and engagement.
Drawing on our own plentiful experience of creating interactive interfaces for museums and galleries, the final design for our Barbican Archive Jukebox includes Stand + Stare’s signature bespoke animations and projection-mapping combined with physical objects that trigger audio excerpts of oral histories. This particular Jukebox design has gone through many iterations, and the revisions all felt absolutely appropriate as we installed the Jukebox against a backdrop of Barbican concrete and segmented low ceiling in the Fountain Room on Friday.
The Barbican Archive Jukebox is a semi-permanent pop-up display that will tour around the Barbican residents towers before taking up residency in Level G of the Barbican Arts Centre from 7-20 October. After this, it will be enlivening the Barbican Library until 29 November 2019.
See the Barbican Archive Jukebox at The Barbican Arts Centre 7-20 October and at the Barbican Library 21 October - 29 November 2019.