Colour in the Senedd
The Acoustic Panels
Martin Richman was the artist appointed by the Assembly to add colour to the Senedd. The project focussed on the architect’s widespread use of fabric-covered acoustic absorption panels throughout the building, and on how these panels could be used as a vehicle for art. An average panel measures around two meters high by a metre wide, and the artist has worked on approximately 270 of the 600 or so panels in the building.
Each panel is made up of a timber frame enclosing acoustic absorption material, covered by a stretched acoustically neutral fabric. The artist worked with the architects and panel manufacturers to choose a suitable fabric for these ‘canvasses’, and the material was supplied to the artist marked on a room by room, and panel-by-panel basis. This enabled the artist to create a unique set of panels for each location. The artist also worked with the architects and panel manufacturers to select a base colour for the remaining ‘plain’ panels in the Senedd.
The treatment of the sound proofing panels became a means of introducing colour into the new building without compromising the build process. The imagery evolved from a sense of suppressed energy emanating from Wales. The geological strata and mineral deposits have given Wales its particular character, providing a wealth of culture and commerce.
The Senedd building is designed so that the debating chamber is below ground and I thought there was an analogy to be drawn between the energy of debate in the new Wales and potential energy inherent in the landscape. The panels may suggest the seepage and percolation of suppressed energies being released.”