Northern Print, the North East's centre for original printmaking has been working with Creative Space Management to curate a collection of original prints for The Lumen, the largest privately funded office building to be constructed in the city centre in the last decade.
This flagship Legal & General-funded building owned by Newcastle City Council offers 106,000 sq. ft of grade A office space and is surrounded by the innovative community on Newcastle Helix.
The word ‘Lumen’ represents a light quarter and a vision that the building will spark innovation, ideas, and discoveries through connections. This new artwork will reflect this vision and Newcastle’s legacy of innovation and creativity.
Original prints by six artists have been selected to feature throughout the building, with two of the artists embarking on bespoke commissions especially for this collection.
These two brand new commissions made especially for The Lumen will include Nick Loaring of The Print Project, who has created a joyful letterpress print of brightly coloured transparent inks expressing the idea of the natural phenomenon of light in the form of light waves. Newcastle-based artist Rachael Clewlow has revisited the original inspiration for the building’s name ‘The Lumen’ by tracing the route from Newcastle’s Lit & Phil Society, where Joseph Swann first demonstrated his newly invented electric lamp, to The Lumen’s location within The Helix. The light bulb is a symbol for ideas and Joseph Swann is an inspiration for the creativity within all of us at this challenging time in history when positivity is especially required.
Newcastle-based filmmaker Alan Fentiman will also be working with the artists to create a series of short films exploring what ‘light’ means to them and the completed films will be featured on both The Lumen and Northern Print's websites in the coming weeks.
Speaking about the project, Northern Print's Director Anna Wilkinson said:
“We were very pleased to be invited to propose artwork for The Lumen. It’s a rare and special opportunity to showcase the talent of artists working in printmaking today.
This is a thoughtfully curated art collection. It shows that carefully chosen, well-placed artworks can be so much more than a series of pictures hanging on the walls.
We took the theme of ‘light’ in reference to the building’s name ‘The Lumen’. Light is of course fundamental to how we see the world and a vital component of art-making. Within the collection each artist communicates their own unique approach.
Making spaces in which people feel good about working is currently more important than ever and art can help to achieve this. This collection is intended to welcome visitors, assist them in navigating the building and communicate the inspiration and ambition behind the building to businesses.
This project comes at a time when artists and cultural organisations really need support. By choosing to invest in original artwork and commissioning Northern Print as a registered arts charity to deliver this project they have a wonderful art collection that reflects the vision for the building and Newcastle’s history of innovation. All the artworks are located within the stairwell – a great incentive to take the stairs rather than the lift!”
The six artists are each represented by a number of artworks which will give building users an opportunity to get to know every individual artist's work and their ways of thinking.
The collection features different types of light – from streetlights to illuminated interiors, shafts of sunlight across a seascape and the luminescence of celestial skies. The works themselves also use light in their making processes, from laser cutting to photography.
The prints will be hung from the basement to the top floor beginning with the streetlights of Anja Percival at the bottom to the glowing moon of Sarah Duncan on the seventh floor, taking in work by Eunice Routledge and Katherine Jones along the way.
In addition to the prints, Northern Print has also helped to source items for the reception area that feature local designer-makers - including Bronwen Deane and Susi Bellamy.