Architects invade stately home for National Trust mansion's Croome Withdrawing Room

By Mark Sheerin | 16 April 2011 | Updated: 15 April 2011
A photo of a floaty sculpture inside a gallery
© Hitomi Kai Yoda_web
Exhibition: The Croome Withdrawing Room, Croome Court, Worcestershire, until March 31 2012

The well-loved custodians of Britain's many stately homes have teamed up with a team of architects who tend to produce anything but brick-and-mortar buildings. The National Trust and We Made That are an unlikely but seemingly perfect fit.

Past projects for the London based firm have included flower beds which echo the site plan of an industrial plant, outdoor steam baths for the general public, and regeneration-themed tea towels. A beach hut and a cycle path also figure in their portfolio.

But their current project at National Trust property Croome Court may be their most marginal yet. In this case they have created a piece of furniture which serves little other purpose than to frame the 18th century landscaped grounds.

Fabric shapes have been used to create new perspectives both within and without a drawing room in the Worcestershire mansion. The new installation, which runs until April 2012, offers so much additional scope for privacy and contemplation it has been called the Croome Withdrawing Room.

In a joint statement, We Made That partners Holly Lewis and Oliver Goodhall explain: “Through archive research and participative workshops with National Trust staff, volunteers and visitors, we explored contemporary notions of ‘withdrawing’ and developed what we hope people will find an appealing space for thought and reflection within the house.”

Given such intangible benefits, visitors should be pleased that a recent £1.5m restoration grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund included £15,000 for experiments like this. Additional support came from Trust New Art, The National Trust's contemporary art programme.

  • Open 11am-4.30 Wednesday-Monday. Admission £6.50/£5.90.

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