Art in all its forms
No.15 Great Pulteney is very much an art hotel, filled with curiosities and collections in every available nook, shelf and staircase. Whether it’s the hand-blown lights above the bar in Cafe 15, framed pieces of vintage lace to beautiful art books, old slides of living stone, or a collection of antique evening bags, there’ll be something to capture your imagination whatever your artistic persuasion. We’re ‘planting’ gardens on the roof, and shining a spotlight on everything from old apothecary bottles to compacts, china dogs and communion plates.
One artist we’re particularly pleased to be working so closely with is Adam Aaronson, a highly talented glass artist who’s been at the heart of British studio glass for more than 25 years. Specialising in free-blown glass, his work experiments with self-taught methods and abstract patinas.
“I love working on early stage projects, where one can develop concepts while the build is undertaken,” says Adam Aaronson of his work at No.15. “Over-riding concepts in my vessels and sculptures are predominately inspired by a love of nature, especially the play of light on water and on the landscape and my colourful patinas draw on.
“I’m very much a colourist, so the blend of hues I’m using is paramount, whether these are inherent in the glass or achieved using coloured LEDs.
“I am inspired by the ceaseless mutability of light on the landscape, the sky and water. I am fascinated by horizons, the vanishing point where the land merges with the sky. Glass is the ideal medium to express this idea of continual change since its properties are inherently mutable, not only in its molten state but also in the way the play of light creates endless nuances in the finished piece.”
In pursuit of perfection
Each of the eight glass babies in Adam Aaronson’s allegorical installation – to be found on our top floor staircase – has been made from molten glass that has been blown into one of several plaster moulds. They’re lit with LED lights, and are sure to provoke a reaction.
“Each mould was cast from a master model, so one could describe the babies as clones,” explains Adam. “However, during the various steps in the making process, each baby developed its own nuances and character, so the babies are, in fact, slightly different, in the same way as there are tiny differences between identical twins.
“What could be more perfect than a sleeping baby? Yet some viewers may be encouraged to consider which aspects of their life are perfect and whether their own aspirations for perfection are realistic. We live in a world where everyone strives to achieve perfection yet the concept of perfection often means different things to different people.”
Adam’s also created hand-blown bowls that have been made into lights as well as a breathtaking ‘Reeds’ series which comprises highly contemporary sculpture, screens and site-specific installations, all created from free-blown glass in myriad colours and with subtle movement.
“Some of these are reminiscent of reeds swaying in a gentle breeze,” says Adam. “Others reflect memories of underwater reeds on coral reefs, gently moving back and forth with the movement of the waves.
“The concept takes a single glass element that when combined with others can create an almost infinite array of forms and applications. In this way, a group of reeds can be transformed into a chandelier, or a room divider, or simply stand alone as a piece of sculpture in its own right.”
You’ll find everything from a screen backlit with LEDs to a series of three ‘reeds’ chandeliers, illuminated with LEDs that will hang in Cafe 15.
Feature lighting is a key part of the design offering here at No.15. From the beautiful pieces such as the Lost Earring chandelier to earring encrusted wall lights, hand-blown lamps, carefully-crafted porcelain lanterns and LED lights, the focus is on creating a spectacle and elegant ambience. While beautiful antique Italian and French chandeliers can be found at every turn, look closely and you’ll find sculptural pieces too, maybe trumpets or a giant top hat.
Lost Earring Chandelier
Our Lost Earring chandelier in the sitting room, is made from 5,000 lone earrings, as well as necklaces and crystals.
Commissioned by Martin Hulbert Design, this colourful piece has been created by artist Lauren Sagar – renowned for her art projects based on storytelling and shared experience – alongside Zoe Rigby and her team at Agapanthus Interiors. While guests will no doubt be captivated by the beauty of the work – an object of art in its own right – the chandelier is also home to thousands of personal stories of memory, loss, beauty and love, donated in the form of a single, treasured earring, its pair having been lost.
In a good light
Paul Freddy Payne designs and makes bespoke atmospheric lighting and lithophanes in porcelain, and he’s been busy ensuring No.15 is in the Bath spotlight, with his sinuous layered candle shades which emit a soft, yet captivating glow.
“The inspiration is the beauty of Bath stone as seen in a golden evening light,” says Paul of his gently luminescent creations. “By degrees of thickness, the stoneware porcelain I make reveals illustrations with an almost sepia tone quality to the clay.
“The illuminated panels back-lit with a warm radiance as lanterns, show a progression of views of No.15 in its location,” explains Paul. “The magic for me is how, like Bath stone, it becomes enhanced when lit.”
Paul puts his love of lighting down to drawing on the back of posters brought home from the theatre when he was a child. When pinned to the wall, the images would merge when lit up. He is, he says, excited by combining the need for lighting with an enhancement, which adds a zest of surprise to the finished piece.