The Red Room Bar, The Connaught
The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London
2019 – 2021
In The Red Room at The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, two artworks in stained glass by Brian Clarke form an integral part of the interior, a space designed by Bryan O'Sullivan Studio and decorated with pieces by artists including Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer. Asked in 2019 to conceive a programme of artwork as part of the interior scheme for the room, Clarke – after making watercolour studies (later exhibited as part of the Vespers series at Phillips Berkeley Square), designs for silk wall hangings, and a scheme that included six windows – designed a pair of site-specific stained glass pieces, which have a level of etched detail unprecedented in the history of the medium. Set in two arches flanking the central marble fireplace, 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 screenprinted. Glowing in ruby and ultramarine, and punctuated by a vivid green, the artworks cast a soft, blue-red light across the walls and colour the space 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. The windows 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.