Artist's Statement: A Hampton Court Palace chandelier in Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber

By Ben Miller | 28 March 2013

Artists' Statement: Sophie Nielsen and Rolf Knudsen, of Studio Roso, on making the Mirror Chandelier for Hampton Court...

A photo of a chandelier above a stairway inside a palace
© Studio Roso
“We were given the opportunity to make this installation by Universal design studios.

When we were asked to create a chandelier for the show we went to Hampton Court Palace and were shown around, which we found absolutely breathtaking.

The Queen’s Stairs, where the chandelier piece is hanging, marks the transition from Tudor to the Baroque part of the castle.

We were asked to create a chandelier that would embed some of the grandeur and drama of the baroque style, such as embellishment, reflection and dynamism.

Ours is a modern interpretation of a chandelier using mirror surfaces as a decorative element that plays with light and the surroundings in which it sits.

A photo of a man assembling a chandelier inside a wooden case
Rolf Knudsen acting as installation artist© Studio Roso
The mirror chandelier is made up of thousands of mirrored discs, suspended on a branch-like structure.

With even the slightest air movement the mirror surfaces move slightly and catch and reflect light onto its surroundings, extending beyond its physical shape.

The asymmetrical shape of the branch adds to the dynamic feel of the piece. It can be viewed from every angle, so we felt it was important to give it a shape that changes as people move around it.

Thanks to the darkness of the space, the chandelier becomes a natural focal point because it attracts and reflects any light in the space. We feel it is the most perfect setting for this piece.

We did all of the assembly in our studio. The chandelier hung horizontally – it practically filled up the entire space. And although we always model our vision in 3-D, the real sculpting is done by hand.

What gives this piece the dynamic feel is the randomness that comes from the hand assembly of each individual disc to its wire, which attaches to a stem that is finally attached to the main branch.

After assembly, we built a timber frame around the whole piece with casters on that allowed us to wheel it out of our studio and onto a van to transport it to the palace.

We wheeled it into the Queen’s Stairs and installed it in half a day. Because the entire structure is made of aluminium and the discs of a plastic laminate, the whole structure is extremely lightweight and can easily be handled by two people.

We have previously made pieces in the disc series, as we call it. But they have all been bigger. It was a true pleasure to work in this, smaller scale.”

  • Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber is at Hampton Court Palace until November 3 2013. Visit the exhibition online for more.

More pictures of Studio Roso's work:

A photo of a triangular white light sculpture inside a historic stone building
V&A Christmas Tree (2011)© Studio Roso
A photo of a light sculpture appearing to erupt through the outside of a brick building
Eden, Syon Park Waldorf Astoria Hotel© Studio Roso
A photo of a section of sculpted light appearing to erupt from a contemporary building
Light, Clarks Shoes HQ© Studio Roso
A photo of a series of light formation sculptures around the wall of a brown building
Evergreen, Exeter© Studio Roso
A photo of a light sculpture inside a curved historic building
Mirror Chandelier, Ames Hotel, Boston© Studio Roso
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