Bermuda Triangle (with Zaha Hadid)

Peel Cottage, London


In 2009, when Zaha Hadid saw a set of personal drawings for stained glass in Brian’s sketchbook, she designed a sofa for the space in his home he'd conceived them for, with room for the two to sit facing each other in conversation, taking its shape from the shape of the room – its lacquered blue finish reflects the window and the coloured light that passes through it – and he made this stained glass 'for' her. Fragments of 19th century stained glass from bombedout churches in Lancashire and Bavaria are set into the completed window. The watercolour, pencil and collage design has 17 panels; the final executed window is an 8-panel polyptych.

There’s a stained-glass window in one corner of the former ballroom that occupies the first floor of Brian Clarke’s west London house, and it’s a marvel of smoky blues, glowing reds and trenchant whites. It’s by Clarke and, as he talks about it, his rich Lancashire accent throbbing with enthusiasm, he sings a hymn to the glory of light and of stained glass as a medium: how the blue becomes transparent, the red goes on fire and the white becomes incandescent at 6pm each day, just 30 summer days a year. It’s how ‘stained glass is always kinetic’ that he adores, the ‘liquid element’ of glass that he loves, the ‘transillumination’ he reveres. Beneath the glass is an ice-blue, geometric, double-sided sofa designed for him by his old friend Zaha Hadid to complement the window, a window she called ‘fluid and stunning’.” – David Jenkins in the Telegraph, 2010.