The Inspiring Views project restores hidden viewpoints across the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), improving access and celebrating these views through innovative, sculptural seating.
On the Albury Estate, near Newlands Corner we will reveal the outstanding iconic view from the North Downs Way across the Weald to the South Downs, improve public access and engage visitors in the immediate surroundings and its conservation. We aim to celebrate this work with an artwork inspired by the view by selected artist Will Nash. Will’s sculptural seating will be beautifully crafted, innovative in design and playfully interactive. As well as drawing people into the countryside, it will provide a pause on a journey for peaceful reflection and appreciation of the surroundings.
Will Nash is an artist with a fascination for geometry and patterns in nature. Examining the faceted structure of an insect’s eye, Will has developed a piece called ‘Optohedron’. This arrangement of 5 identical cells creates a rising curved sequence. If you were to continue with the sequence adding another 15 cells the structure would complete into a sphere, so the sculpture is a fragment of a missing whole. This links to the mysterious Golden Ratio geometry which continues to fascinate artists and scientists today. The name Optohedron is derived from the ancient Greek: optikós, “of seeing” and hédra “raised seat”
‘The Optohedron sculpture is inspired by the act of viewing, thinking about seeing as the fundamental interface between the person and the world. Whilst exploring this idea, I investigated optics, the science of light, which took me to an ancient instrument, the Kaleidoscope.’ Will Nash
The Optohedron will be constructed from Weathering Steel which forms a protective layer of rust on its surface under the influence of the weather. The individual cells will be packed with locally sourced unprocessed timber to create a solid seat. Concealed within the packed timber there will be three spherical Kaleidoscopes, each one will be orientated to view a different element of the place, one up at the branches against the sky, one across looking through the scrub, and one down toward the earth. The three views will, of course change with the seasons and, in a way correspond with a sort of ‘zooming’ in or out from close up to far away.
Alongside Will’s artwork, an inspirational learning programme will engage communities through talks, walks, conservation and creative activities. Young people will make their own kaleidoscopes and create experimental photography of the landscape and natural surroundings as they explore. Guided outings with groups will explore the therapeutic effects of art and nature. Local people will also be involved with clearance and planting at the site specifically to allow the insect and butterfly populations to flourish.
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Find out more about previous Inspiring Views Projects