Palm Temple

Palm Temple was commissioned by Sky Arts in Italy for presentation in London in January 2020. The artwork is now on permanent display for the public to enjoy outside the Chemistry Department, University of Bristol (see map).

About Palm Temple 

The artwork was commissioned for Sky Artes in Italy to be part of a television programme celebrating the 600th anniversary of Brunelleschi’s dome of Florence Cathedral (Duomo di Firenze).

While Florence Cathedral is a temple for contemplating God, the Palm Temple is designed for contemplating nature. The final artwork is based on a spiralling lamella dome structure. This dome is cut in half and the two halves placed in parallel, like two palms of each hand coming together in prayer. Suspended in the apex of the dome is Luke’s Extinction Bell artwork which tolls 150-200 times a day, at random intervals, indicating the number of species lost worldwide every 24 hours. This estimate is according to a 2007 UN Environmental Programme. The Extinction Bell raises awareness of the issue of biodiversity loss, makes audible events which are invisible, and which are occurring simultaneously across the world in multiple habitats. The Extinction Bell artwork has recently featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Front Row.

Placed in the landscape, people can enter the pavilion for contemplation. The artwork is made from cedar wood and references stained glass with its dichroic panelled windows. The floor is mirrored, reflecting the dome above. Inside, the effect is spectacular. Connecting the sky and clouds with the ground, Palm Temple changes minute by minute with the shifting weather patterns and time of day. ­At night the artwork is internally illuminated.

Luke says “Expressing my interest in sacred architecture, I hope the public enjoy exploring this new pavilion. Referencing the stained glass windows and bell towers of the Duomo in Florence, Palm Temple is both an experimental optical pavilion and a contemplation space designed for the public to consider the impact humanity is having on nature.”

See photos posted by the public with #palmtemple

With Thanks 
Fabricated with CAD design and fabrication from Richard Stump and John Hall. Engineering analysis from Structural Solutions.

Press Coverage
BBC News
Time Out – London
La Nazione
Il Messagero
Annsa ViagiArt
La Repubblica