Throwing shade

Simon Heijdens’ immersive installation comes to life inside the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new extension

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The freshly unveiled V&A extension by Amanda Levete is a feast for the senses. Among the many highlights is the Sainsbury Gallery’s inaugurating exhibition by artist Simon Heijdens, who is know for his immersive installations that merge technology and nature. First launched at The Art Institute Chicago in 2010, the third and latest iteration of ‘Shade’ takes over the triangular skylights of the space and is led by the elements.

Here, responsive cellular glass changes with the wind: when a gust blows, the cells in the glass turn transparent so it wavers between blocking and filtering in sunlight. The result is a hypnotic pattern of light and shade that is different all year round, changing with the weather and seasons. The geometric designs are unpredictable yet mesmerising, bathing pockets of the new 1,100 sq m column-free exhibition space in light and dark.

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