The Ground Floor Project presents Acoustitch

In 2013, The Architecture Foundation partnered with The Crown Estate on The Ground Floor Project commissioning two emerging designers to create bespoke artworks for the lobby spaces of two landmark buildings within the St James’s neighbourhood of central London. One of the two winning designs Acoustitch by RCKa has been completed in the foyer of 11 Waterloo Place in St James’s.

Briefed to create an engaging artwork that celebrates the unique history of St James’s, RCKa drew inspiration from the rich craft-based heritage of the area, renowned for bespoke mens’ tailoring and grooming. Installed behind the reception desk, Acoustitch provides a focal point for the foyer space whilst making a virtue of spatial and acoustic constraints. The foyer’s white marble floor and plaster walls provide a clean contemporary backdrop for the work. Inspired to introduce acoustic comfort into this space, RCKa looked to anechoic sound chambers, choosing to use high-density acoustic foam as the core material for the artwork to soften the acoustics, creating a more welcoming entrance for workers and visitors. RCKa worked with East London based company Cutfoam to devise a highquality and cost effective way to fabricate the artwork, which is constructed from 789 pieces of high-density acoustic foam cut into triangular forms. The foam pieces are adhered to birch-faced ply backing sheets that fit together jigsaw like for ease of transportation and installation, and wall mounted using simple split battens. Taking a cue from traditional woven fabric swatches, the triangular forms are grouped and rotated to form a homogenic texture and pattern for maximum visual effect. Acoustitch transforms as visitors move through the foyer to reveal interwoven patterns that evoke St James’s history of textiles and tailoring.

RCKa has utilised high-density foam in an inventive way, crafting a dynamic woven artwork from low-tech materials. The result is an arresting artwork which references St James’s heritage and creates a memorable experience for workers and visitors arriving at 11 Waterloo Place.

Anthea Harries, Portfolio Manager, St James’s at The Crown Estate, said: “Our collaboration with The Architecture Foundation has been a great opportunity for The Crown Estate to support new and emerging talent, encouraging practices to continue pursuing ground-breaking new projects. RCKa’s design adds real flair to the reception space of our recently completed office development at 11 Waterloo Place as part of our ongoing £500m investment vision for St James's.”

Image: courtesy Jakob Spriestersbach (Claire Curtice Publicists)