The residents of Osram House chose to have an abstract design on the mural which would be sited by their elevator doors in the lobby. They were particularly interested in the orange panels I had made for a previous commission, so initially I scanned some photographs of these designs and then stretched and pulled them around to fit the dimensions which would look best for this site. This was the starting point for the work on the Osram House commission, but of course new directions began to suggest themselves when I worked on the ¼ scale prototype at the factory, Burnham Signs in Sydenham, London.
Jewlery enamel on Steel
It was helpful to gain experience when one commission design follows on from another. The main idea is to find a set of shapes and colours that will allow for the orchestration of shapes in space. All the forms were coloured with hues that were shaded in some areas and high-lighted in others. In places it was possible to have a form on a lower level appear to come up through the next layer. It is the positions of the high-lights and the dark areas that guide the eye around the composition. This was proved when at one stage a mistake in judgement put a dark area in the middle of the mural. The effect was to make the rest of the colours disappear and the structure of the design to fall apart. Fortunately a covering of white over the dark patch solved the problem and actually subsequently provided the high-light which brought the whole mural design alive.
Pat Johnson © 1997-2007