Seasons Through the Looking Glass by CJ Lim/Studio 8 Architects



Seasons Through the Looking Glass is an installation by CJ Lim/Studio 8 Architects at the subway entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


The installation is made from honeycombed cardboard panels and rolled up fabric.


It will remain in place until March 2009 and will be altered as the seasons change.


Here's some more information from Studio 8 Architects:


seasons through the looking glass

A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden; the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red. Suddenly their eyes chanced to fall upon Alice, as she stood watching them. "Would you tell me, please," said Alice, a little timidly, "why you are painting those roses?"- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)


Alice’s adventure in Wonderland begins with a protracted fall through a tunnel that unexpectedly twists perpendicularly downwards to form a deep well. She lands, not ungently, on a heap of sticks and dry leaves.

What is the provenance of this desiccated foliage? The answer may lie in the Victoria & Albert Museum Tunnel Entrance installation, “Seasons through the Looking Glass” by CJ Lim of Studio 8 Architects, a multi-sensory and tactile intervention exploring the spatial possibilities of a subterranean garden.

Although underground plants are not uncommon in the city of London, they are usually the type with ducts and boiler rooms rather than flowers and trees.

Nevertheless, residing in the underpass forecourt of the V & A, is a cartouche-shaped topiary bejeweled with rose blossoms that tapers to a crown before sprouting an array of forked branches whose shadows fence across the grand vaulted ceiling. It is a curious beast - its trunk and twigs are constructed from honeycomb paper sandwich panels, its flowers from rolled recycled garments that change to reflect the seasons.

A large looking glass in the foot tunnel immediately beyond the entrance portal mirrors the topiary structure, infinitely extending the V&A in virtual space. The baroque strains of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons flow along the station-museum link. The intersection of visual and audio paths marks the entrance to the museum.

Come autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the gardeners will daub the fair white roses of spring with hues of crimson and auburn. Winter sees a final metamorphosis in tint and texture of the topiary to usher in the year’s end.

“Seasons Through the Looking Glass” by CJ Lim/Studio 8 Architects runs until 29 March 2009 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7.

Posted on Thursday April 10th 2008 at 11:05 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • This is new and beautiful.

  • bald skull

    is the fabric to be taken by visitors?

  • B


  • me

    unfortunately i have had to walk past this, for the past two weeks twice a day. all i can say is lets hope with global warming already wreaking havoc with the seasons, this will develop and change soon because right now it looks bad, especially compared with the ephemeral write up about it above!

  • roadkill


  • Karei

    I don’t quite get what is so special about this piece… don’t mind the idea of using cardboard, though.

  • joe

    i was expecting so much from this. love cj’s work, the write up sounds so promising but the actual piece is utterly uninspiring. looks like a dissapointing end of year student exhibition piece at best.

  • r.n

    I love to look at CJLim’s work but i agree with the person above – scrap the wordy tosh…it’s just pretensious excuses

  • jimmy loos

    A disappointing translation from what has been an `interesting´ collection of drawings over the past years..
    did you get the 1st years to do it for you?

  • Bonzo

    what are those towels for?
    looks like a gymasium locker room or something. This exposes the ridiculousness of these (literally) “paper” architects who remain comfortably cossetted in educational institutes spouting pseudo intellectual condescending nonsense that the youngsters lap up. And when they do stick their necks out to try and achieve something material – Voila!

  • nilo

    architecture or origami?