Wilkinson puts Metsa Wood in the frame

Published:  05 June, 2012

LONDON:Visitors to this year’s Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts will be greeted with a seminal open-air installation, largely rendered in timber. Chris Wilkinson RA of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, has designed ‘From Landscape to Portrait’.

It is constructed using sustainable Kerto (LVL) from Metsä Wood (formerly Finnforest) and is installed within the Annenburg Courtyard space of the Royal Academy to provide a graceful focal point for the launch of the Summer Season.

Chris Wilkinson has been commissioned to produce the open-air installation. ‘From Landscape to Portrait’ is a sequence of 11 giant timber frames of 5m x 3m, winding their way along a sine curve, each frozen through a 90º rotation from a landscape to portrait position.

‘From Landscape to Portrait’ is constructed using Metsä Wood’s Kerto. The lightweight nature of timber and its structural integrity over wide spans was one of the key benefits in its specification for the realisation of this piece. Metsä Wood pre-fabricated the Kerto frames to precision tolerances at its manufacturing centre in Aichach, Germany, before transporting them to London for swift installation within the courtyard. Each frame is supported in its rotated angle of stasis by concealed engineering in a twisting stainless steel plinth with a mirror finish, supported with structural plywood and counterbalanced by built-in seating.

“The frames provide the perfect theme for the Annenburg Courtyard,” explained Mr Wilkinson. “The installation ‘From Landscape to Portrait’ beckons the viewer into the courtyard, following the curve of the frames into the galleries beyond. By entering the courtyard and interacting with the piece - moving around and between the frames - the viewer gains different views of the courtyard space, framed aesthetically in timber. The design also incorporates innovative seating for visitors, enabling them to physically connect with the structure. Metsä Wood Kerto LVL panels allowed for surprisingly light sections over a large span whilst providing an elegant and sustainable solution to the integral timber frames.”

Timber has many design benefits. It lends itself to offsite construction and with minimal waste and fast installation times specifiers and designers can achieve very high levels of accuracy in the tolerances available, combined with pleasing contemporary aesthetics.

"Metsä Wood was able to deliver high quality bespoke engineered timber within a very tight programme, a feat made possible by the excellent technical support offered by Daniel Kreissig and his team and the efficiency of the processes used at the production facility in Germany,” said Dominic Wilkinson.

Kevin Riley, Vice President Construction Industry for Metsä Wood said: “Our Kerto is ideally suited to deliver long spans. For the Royal Academy we have sealed the surface of the timber to provide protection and enhance the timber’s natural appearance. This latest use of Kerto to create a cutting edge piece of design demonstrates the great versatility of engineered timber in the delivery of challenging projects.”

The Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition is now in its 244th year. It is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show. It runs from 4th June, marking the start of the Summer Season to 12th August.

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