Work

100 New Bridge Street

100 New Bridge Street, Ludgate Hill, City of London, EC4

19911992

At 100 New Bridge Street, located between London's Thameslink and Blackfriars stations “in the shadow of St Paul’s”, two canopies of stained glass run above a parade of ground-level shops. In 1991, Rosehaugh Stanhope commissioned Brian Clarke to design an integral artwork for their building, being constructed as part of the City of London’s development project. In collaboration with architects Renton Howard Wood Levin, Clarke produced a composition which ran across the length of the building, comprising two projecting canopies, and the glazed main entranceway located between them. Made from traditionally mouthblown sheets of glass, virtuosically cut and leaded, in orange, green, white and blue, the curved entrance screen included pieces of agate and onyx, sliced translucently thin, incorporated into the work. Also on the principal elevation, the canopies make a narrow band of colour above the shop hoardings to either side of the recessed entranceway, where calligraphic 'ribbons' – which also move across the shopfronts – echo the decorative stonework of the keystone above.

Here Clarke has arranged squares of brilliant ruby and scarlet glass on either side of the foyer doorway while ribbons of contrasting colour leap across the upper part of his composition. Outside, coloured ribbons unite the blocks of dark blue and vivid green of the exterior canopy. Clarke's colours reflect their era, uniquely belonging to the late 20th century, tuned to the blue of the computer screen, the green of traffic light ‘Go’ and the fashion tones of pink red and yellow orange. Clarke has, however, reminded us of our frailty by interrupting these patterns with a few small slices of rock at eye level, fragments of arrested time.” – Caroline Swash, in Stained Glass: A London Guide/The 100 Best Stained Glass Sites in London

100 New Bridge Street forms part of an extensive city development by developer Stuart Lipton. The scheme incorporates a stained glass entrance screen and canopy on the New Bridge Street facade of the building. By day, the entrance glass is illuminated by natural light and is at its most potent from within. The canopy is also visible by natural light from the pavement level. By night, internal illumination brings the two elements of the scheme jointly alive, delivering an energy and atmosphere to the streetscape it sadly lacked before. It has now become an affectionate landmark in the City of London, used as an evening meeting point and directional event. The glass is itself animated by 'ribbons' of colour, and also contains small points of onyx and agate, which breaks up the flow of more linear passages – Academy Editions' monograph Brian Clarke: Architectural Artist.