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University of Exeter

Artist Alexander Beleschenko was commissioned to develop an artwork for the University of Exeter’s new student-centred Forum, working in conjunction with Wilkinson Eyre Architects.


Setting off the vibrant character of the new hub, Beleschenko’s soaring designs are integrated within the glazing of the Forum’s three main facades. Though abstract in appearance, both the colour and form of the artworks are in fact subtly linked to University life. Beleschenko’s designs were informed by his time spent as an observer within the University, during which he was particularly struck by the work of a department researching the interaction of light with natural surfaces such as butterfly wings and beetle shells. The colours of the curving forms were suggested by the wide array of plant life in the University’s gardens. Though the order into which these coloured bands are organised seems arbitrary, a coded system in which each colour represents a different letter of the alphabet actually reveals hidden texts. The reception façade explores the University’s history; the north façade discusses the creation of the artwork itself; and the south façade is imbued with personal relevance, consisting of words that were contributed by both staff and students at the University.


Talking about his aims for the work, Beleschenko has said: ‘I sought to create a piece, generous in scale, legible from inside and outside at both day and night, that caught the spirit of the communal space.’


Alexander Beleschenko


University of Exeter


Wilkinson Eyre





Image credit

(c) Hufton + Crow