Richard Woods: Port Sunlight


The Lever House, at 390 Park Avenue in New York City, recently commissioned artist Richard Woods to create a site-specific installation for the lobby of the Modernist structure. The installation, titled Port Sunlight, features colorful patterns that cover over forty columns, eight benches, and several areas of floor within the lobby. Each of the nine patterns utilized in the installation are created from a series of print blocks which are configured in a pattern of multiples.

For the commission, Woods explored the history of the Lever Brothers company and discovered that they founded a village near Cheshire, England, in the 1800’s  to accommodate the company’s rapid expansion. That village was named Port Sunlight. The artist grew up not far from the area, and is familiar with the Lever’s massive collection of British Victorian art, which was on public display at the Lady Lever Gallery in the village.


The patterns used by Richard Woods references the graphic nature of the Victorian decoration collected by the Levers. These patterns attempt to take over and colonize the otherwise modernist lobby, allowing for a playful opposition to develop between the two aesthetics.

Port Sunlight will be on view through January 31st, 2010.