'The Four Seasons'
A set of Backlit wall panels for the yacht, renaissance
I was approached by Bannenberg and Rowell Designs to design and make four large wall mounted stained-glass panels, based on ‘The Four Seasons’, to be installed in the interior of a new yacht. Each panel had to stand strongly on its own, but also form part of a cohesive set. As with all projects, I had to create a balance between a strong design and the need for it to work in the context of a wider design setting, and consider carefully how this traditional medium would work in a very modern environment.
The relatively open brief suggested a wealth of exciting possibilities in terms of the imagery and colours that would convey the seasons in nature, and both the clients and yacht designers were open to ideas and suggestions. In the final designs, ‘Summer’ shows the season in full bloom with bright, vivid colours. Autumn shows the glorious seasonal change to rich ambers, russet and reds. Winter follows, with bold and striking blues and whites, using angular lines to reflect the stark beauty of this season. Lastly, after the cold, comes the lushness of spring with vivid greens and blues to depict new growth and brighter days.
The use of line and composition in each piece give the panels a strongly contemporary feel. I used specially selected handmade, mouthblown glass sheets made by Lamberts Glass in Germany, each sheet chosen for colour and form, and for the subtle variations within the glass itself. I used acid etching to create richness and depth, and hand painted details drew the different elements together. Because of the unusual nature of the commission, careful consideration had to be given to the illumination of the panels, and the framing needed to give stability and strength to the panels whilst remaining unobtrusive.
‘The Four Seasons’ was the winner of the 2024 BOAT Artistry & Craft Awards Emerging Artisan of The Year.
The awards celebrate “the behind-the-scenes artisans who spend countless hours creating the finer details on board,” showcasing the unsung heroes of yacht design. The judges were looking for “exceptional objects or finishes that take these vessels to another level of luxury, whether using time-honoured skills such as marquetry and leatherwork, or new techniques that push the boundaries of sustainability, technology and materials.”
Judges felt that all four pieces were ‘exceptional’ and were impressed with the intricate craftsmanship that went with each panel. They appreciated the number of technical hurdles that needed to be overcome in the process - unlike stained glass windows, the panels needed to be backlit and hung in frames which had to both look sleek and streamlined yet provide the right amount of illumination.
You can read more about the awards here.
“Ayson should be applauded not only for her incredible skill but also for her ability to take an ancient craft and make it work successfully for a modern setting.”
- Judges of the 2024 BOAT Artistry & Craft Awards