Juliet Haysom is an artist who is interested in architecture and makes work that has a specific relationship with place. Each of her projects develop out of a period of research, during which latent aspects of a site (such as its geology and history) suggest the strategies and material processes that are employed within the work.
in 2021, Juliet collaborated with Aude-Line Duliere to produce Placeholders, a commission for the London Design Festival at the Victoria & Albert Museum. More than 400 pieces of Portland stone were removed from the museum’s facade in 2013 to create a new pedestrian entrance on Exhibition Road. Using these salvaged stones as a starting point, Juliet and Aude-Line produced a survey and an inventory, followed by a series of possible configurations of the material as-found. The three versions installed serve as ‘Placeholders’: firstly, in that they serve as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation measures until the granite blocks commissioned by the council arrive; and secondly, as stone is such a durable and reusable material, this installation can be seen as another ‘pause’ in the stones’ potential future reuse within the circular economy.
Juliet has recently worked on two commissions in Bristol. The first, at Wapping Wharf, is within a contemporary development on the site of the New Gaol that was built in 1816. Openings will be made into the bricked-up ruin of the Gaol Gate, the last of the original buildings remaining on the site. Into these openings will be set a pair of highly-reflective glass reliefs based on details found in the collection of 200-year old architectural drawings held by the Bristol Records Office. The New Gaol was one of a number of pioneering prisons built in England during the early nineteenth century influenced by Bentham’s ideas about surveillance and reform. The glass reliefs will both allow new views into the historic structure and reflect views of the shared public realm, which has been designed to maximise ‘passive surveillance’ as a means to improve public safety. The scheme is due to be completed in 2021.
At Unity Street, to the south of Bristol’s Old Market, Juliet was commissioned to lead designs for a new public park. Having investigated other local parks and analysed the dramatic changes in the urban context of the area through the last century, a series of five follies was designed. Three of these were cast directly from moulds taken from a brick and pennant stone wall that was demolished as part of the site’s development, and the other two were cast from constructed formwork based on photographs of an old pub that was demolished in the 1970s. Each folly has been set within a landscape that acknowledges the layered urban history of the site, evoking its rich history through material details. The first phase of the project was completed in August 2017, the second phase in spring 2021.
Working closely with the design team at Royal Terrace Gardens in Torquay (2011) Juliet introduced two materials throughout the scheme- white marble from Carrara, Italy, and the local pink/grey Devonian limestone. ‘The English Riviera’ continues to emulate the whiteness of Italian architecture, while its native masonry industry- specialising in the very material that makes the local landscape so unique and distinctive- has been almost entirely lost. Carrara marble is now commonly available throughout the UK as a premium material for sculpture and architectural purposes, while the local limestone is now only quarried to be crushed for aggregate. Juliet’s use of both materials reconsidered and re-presented these materials in contemporary sculptural terms.
At Lake Shore, Bristol (2008) Juliet was commissioned to articulate the proposed building’s relationship with its invisible ground source heat pump system. This system would provide the building with sustainable heating and cooling. Working closely with a specialist wax manufacturer and a bronze foundry she researched and developed an efficient and innovative method of working directly into wax and casting into bronze, sections of which would be connected together to make a tactile, thermal handrail that supplied heat to the new building.
For example, Spring, for which Juliet was awarded the Jerwood Sculpture Prize (2007) is installed in the park surrounding Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. The original topography of the park was substantially altered in the the Eighteenth Century by Capability Brown, who carved into the landscape and added a lake in order to enhance its arcadian appearance. Spring involved drilling a 24-metre borehole into the aquifer below the park. Using a solar-powered system, water from this new borehole was pumped to the surface where it appeared as a cloud of fine mist before draining into the lake and back into the aquifer, echoing the ‘artificial naturalness’ of Brown’s design.
Between 2013 and 2015 Juliet worked as an Associate Artist at Muf Architecture Art where she assisted as an artist and designer, and directed various community engagement projects. She continues to work on her own independent projects and teaches regularly at both University of the Arts, London and The Architectural Association, London.
Juliet Haysom was born in 1978 in Dorset and now lives and works in London. She received her BFA from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford (1998-2001) and her MPhil in drawing and sculpture from The Royal College, London (2002-2004), and RIBA Part-1 from the Architectural Association in (2011-2013). Group exhibitions include ‘Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now’, The British Museum and various touring locations (2019-20); ‘The Jerwood Drawing Prize’, various locations, (2002 and 2005); ‘Drawing Inspiration: Contemporary British Drawing’, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal (2006), ‘British Sculptors’ Drawings: Moore to Gormley’, The British Museum (2008-2009), ‘In Between the Lines: Recent British Drawings’, Trinity Contemporary, London (2009); ‘Contemporary Drawings’, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009); ‘State of Flux: Drawing in London’ Trinity Contemporary, New York and London (2011); and ‘The Postcard is a Public Work of Art’, X Marks the Bokship, London (2014).