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.