John Lewis

2006

Brief: to create 4 monumental (2 metres x 30 metres) art walls delineating the key locations of access and transportation within the new flagship store in Liverpool. The designs were to be installed as digitally printed panels.

The proposal was visually centred around the vitality of nature, recognising that any moment spent waiting for a lift or entering a chosen floor should be a ‘refreshing’ visual experience.

Harvey’s proposal avoided the more obvious concept of four seasons, developing instead the ‘elements’ of nature and employing associations of sensation through colour, form, space and rhythm to this subject in a vertical upward progression:

  • Growth (Ground Floor). The crispness of spring offers the colours of new shoots and blossom
  • Water (First Floor). The proximity of the River Mersey inspires an exploration of the constant movement and rhythm of water
  • Light (Second Floor). New mornings and early sunrise suggest soft violets
  • Air (Third Floor). The sense of flight and the swirl of snowy clouds move into infinite blues

Working with the physical context and its requirements, anticipating and shaping the viewer’s experience, Harvey’s concept was shaped around, and underpinned by, significant executional principles:

  • each image had a distinct colour palette to aid the sense and recall of a particular floor location
  • the surface of the images was designed to be visually engaging in terms of mark and colour when viewed at close range as well as reading coherently as a whole, even when walking along its entire length
  • Harvey felt strongly that the installation had to be exciting at low level to invite children to respond and interact with the work.