Es Devlin unveils cathedral-like sculpture to highlight London's endangered species
British designer Es Devlin has created Come Home Again, an illuminated dome illustrated with her own pencil drawings of the 243 flora and fauna species on London's priority conservation list.
Located outside of the Tate Modern gallery in London, the large-scale public installation is a cutout scale model of the domed St Paul's Cathedral on the other side of the Thames river.
Devlin created the Come Home Again installation out of recycled steel and her own pencil drawings of London's endangered species, which have been arranged in illuminated decorative clusters.
These include birds, beetles and moths as well as fungi, fish and wildflowers – all of which feature on London's priority conservation list identified by the City of London Biodiversity Action Plan.
Come Home Again aims to highlight the importance of protecting these endangered species by drawing public attention to them, according to Devlin.
"A dome originally meant a home," said the designer.
"The work invites us to see, hear and feel our home, our city, as an interconnected web of species and cultures, to learn and remember the names and sing those under threat into continued existence."
Similarly to a cathedral, the sculpture has tiered steps on its lower portion. In place of the hymn books traditionally found in a cathedral, these feature QR codes that visitors are invited to scan to learn more about the species.
Various London-based choirs will perform an interpretation of choral evensong – a traditional church music service – within the sculpture at sunset each evening until 1 October, when the work will be dismantled.
The choirs will also sing the names of the many endangered species that the project references. During the daytime, a soundscape of the noises made by the species will play for audiences to sit and listen to.
After the sculpture is dismantled, its steel structure will be melted into steel ingots that will be reused, and all of the installation is entirely recyclable, according to the designer.
Devlin has created a number of other projects that aim to draw attention to climate change, including a temporary installation called Conference of the Trees that she unveiled during last year's COP26 climate conference.
The photography is by Max Alexander.
Comissioned by jewellery brand Cartier, Come Home Again is on display at the Tate Modern from 22 September to 1 October 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.