With Herzog & de Meuron’s towering brick addition to their Tate Modern mother ship all set to open on 17 June 2016, the Tate is making the effort to communicate the whats, whys and wherefores of the new building. Its website now includes trailers that look more like Apple Watch ads than the usual lures of heavyweight cultural hubs. It has also called on occasional collaborator Peter Saville to create a suitably conceptual graphic representation of the conjoined buildings, including the subterranean tanks, and how they are subdivided into working spaces.
'We wanted something more than an architectural render,' explains Tate’s Rob Baker. 'And we know that Peter can do amazing things with colour and bring energy to inanimate objects and still images.' Saville’s designs didn’t stay still or inanimate for very long though.
Saville worked on the Tate project with long-time collaborators Paul Hetherington and 3D designers and visualisers Morph. Morph’s Bill Holding said that it became clear pretty quickly that they would need to animate the plan for it to work. 'Obviously the new addition to the building by Herzog & de Meuron has dramatically changed the overall silhouette, and in a way that can only be fully appreciated by viewing the building from numerous directions. It is so irregular in form that it has a distinctive profile which ever way you look at it.'
'The work distills the overall building into its most basic geometric components, in such a way that the distinctive silhouette is still instantly recognisable.'
Saville decided to make these components transparent, to suggest interplay, and colour-coded with a system based on the potential experience in each area. 'The transparency also meant that as you moved around the 3D form, not only does the exterior shape change dramatically, but so too does the colour mixing taking place internally.'
Baker says it is still working on different uses for Saville and Co’s images and animations but insists they will become more and more visible as opening date approaches.