Last weekend I drove a few miles north to take a look at an unusual art project that’s currently under construction. Called A House For Essex, this chapel-like building was designed by artist Grayson Perry in collaboration with architecture practice FAT. As regular visitors to this blog will know, I’m a fan of the inimitable Grayson, and even named some gloves I designed in his honour! I would love to see inside the finished house when, as planned, it’s filled with the artist’s tapestries and pots, plus decorative timberwork and mosaic floors, along with curious features like a bath that offers ‘an unusual location from which to observe visitors in the hallway.’ It will eventually open to the public, but as a holiday let.
It’s situated at the end of a lane overlooking the River Stour, on the outskirts of a tiny village called Wrabness in North Essex. Wrabness on a grey February day is about as cheerful as it sounds, but I’m sure when there are leaves on the trees and the sun shines on that water it’s all very different.
Essex provides not just the location for the house but also the artistic concept. All the artworks both inside and out are inspired by ‘the history and psyche of Essex’, expressed through the life of a fictional character called Julie, the supposed previous occupant. Clues about Julie’s life and times are spread throughout the house, allowing visitors to deduce details of her life story. Here are a few more photos of the outside:
I think there’s something charming and niave (in the best artistic sense) about this piece of contemporary architecture, and I also like the way it uses the colours of the surrounding landscape to tone in whilst at the same time presenting something striking that stops you in your tracks. The tiles do slightly remind me of a Victorian toilet (!), but that aside I think the house is a whimsical gem and can’t wait to see photos of the inside.