Rolls-Royce Commissions Interactive Artwork

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced details of the winning design for a permanent large-scale artwork to be situated at the Bishop Otter campus, Chichester University. Winning artist Walter van Rijn’s design for a Sound Unit in the shape of an ellipse was the unanimous choice by the panel of judges.  The competition for the commission was open to artists worldwide, in partnership with Chichester District Council and the University of Chichester.

In addition to its sculptural qualities, the Sound Unit can also be used as a place to meet, or as a location for another temporary artwork, theatre or dance. The shape of the sculpture is related to an ellipse with three focus points, and openings that not only allow the public to enter, but also permit sound and light to interact with the shape. The walls will reflect, focus and distort the outside audio-visual world into an original configuration at the inside of the sculpture.  The unit will be made mainly from curved forms created from brick.

This significant artwork is scheduled for completion by spring 2008 and will be situated outside the Fine Art building - called artOne - at the University, where the space favours a large-scale sculpture or landscaped work.

Ian Robertson, Chairman and Chief Executive Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said; “We believe innovation is a vital part of business success and so we take great pleasure in encouraging creativity in the world of art as well. I am delighted that this contemporary work of art will be the artist’s first public commission. Rolls-Royce is committed to supporting fresh talent - for instance, our own apprenticeship scheme is now in its second year.”

The brief for the competition stated that the work should aim to promote the idea that public art can be aesthetically adventurous while displaying sensitivity to the context of the University environment.

In his proposal, Walter van Rijn said; “It is my intention to use the particular functions of this site for example situated as it is within a higher education establishment, in a semi-public and open space, as a positive element for the sculpture. In some way I would like to bring something of the function of the artOne building outside, a space to experiment with.”

The independent panel of judges comprised sculptor Bruce Williams, Frances Lord Public Arts consultant, Anne Bone Chichester District Council Arts and Heritage Development Manager and University representatives Steve McDade, Head of Fine Art, Tim Sandys-Renton Senior Lecturer and Tad Kowal, Fine Art student representative.

The artwork will generate local and regional interest and Anne Bone, Arts and Development Manager, Chichester District Council said, “This is an important example of partnership in commissioning for all the partners and a very interesting exploration of the relationship between art and science - which is particularly appropriate with the involvement of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and the University. To give a local artist this opportunity is also a bonus for the area’s creative industries and shows that the Chichester district is a good place for business and learning.”

Published 10 April 2007 Melanie Carter

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