The Red Room Bar, The Connaught Hotel
The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London
2019 – 2021
In The Red Room at The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, two contemporary works of art in stained glass by Brian Clarke form an integral part of the new bar's interior. Approached in 2019 to conceive a programme of artwork as part of the interior scheme for the room, designed by Bryan O'Sullivan Studio, Clarke – after making watercolour studies (exhibited as part of the Vespers series of paintings), designs for silk wall hangings, and a scheme that included six windows – designed a pair of works which have a level of etched detail at the time unprecedented in the history of the medium. Flanking the central marble fireplace in two curved plaster arches designed as their frames, the 'windows' are backlit by a specially-designed lighting system that alters through the day to accentuate the innate qualities of the materials, with sheets of glass specially mouth-blown for the project, acid-etched and ceramic-glaze screenprinted. Glowing in ruby and ultramarine, and punctuated by a vivid green, the artworks cast a soft pink light across the walls and provide the key ambient colour of The Red Room (decorated with portable art in matching tones, including a focal painting by Louise Bourgeois) by day and night. Clarke's first public installation in London in six years, they are the centrepiece of the Connaught’s first new bar in over a decade, and the first architectural expression of the Vespers series, which was exhibited in full at the time of the opening, within view of The Connaught at Phillips Berkeley Square. The windows, fabricated by a team of craftsmen and women in Germany, were completed and installed in late 2020, with the bar opening to the public in September 2021.
'Clarke’s Art Nouveau-esque stained glass panels served as the launchpad for O’Sullivan’s design plans. “We went and met with Brian in his incredible studio in West London and chatted through possible ideas for how the glass could look and how it might fit into curved arched plaster apertures,” O’Sullivan says. “They really command your attention and set the tone for the standard of the rest of the design.” The vibrant reds and blues of the glass are complemented by the muted palette of the room, with furniture and carpeting in pale pinks, dove blue, and sage green.' – W Magazine.