2017, Public Art Installation, Tower of Westgate | Oxford UK



The Lantern

Since 2017

Public Art Installation
Tower of Westgate Oxford UK

In the mid-thirteenth century Roger Bacon, one of
the first European scholars, described the laws of
refraction: an object seen through a glass is seen
in a different way when it stands directly before
our eyes. In Oxford, Bacon’s home town, artist
Daniela Schönbächler has created an Public Art
Project whose perfect complexity consists in these
few elements: the interplay between light, glass
and our astonished eye. A simple idea, straight-
forward in its implementation, but with a rich and
varied effect. Because the glass cylinder is open at
the top, allowing the sunlight to shine into it and
through it, the installation becomes a living spectacle
that conjures a wide variety of colours and moods
against the Oxford skyline, depending on the time of
day and the weather. The ‘city of dreaming spires’
has acquired a new player: at one moment the new
tower blends, chameleon-like, with the colour of the
sky and a moment later a ray of sunshine illuminates
it brightly. The Lantern is a landmark within the city-
scape, but also an instrument of vision.

Land Securities, London UK Client
Dixon Jones Architects, London UK Architect
Modus Operandi, London UK Curator

Press Release german and english
Museum Modern Art Oxford Panel discussion



Installation views | Bonn Square Central Oxford



On the square twenty-metre tower stands a slim
cylinder, eight metres high and three metres in
diameter. Closer inspection reveals that the cy-
linder is a polygon with thirteen sides, subdivided
into six stacked rows of equal size. The regular
framework consists of a filigree structure in stain-
less steel and the fields are glazed with 78 panes
of glass. For, although all the surfaces have the
same dimensions, each pane differs from the next
in colour and transparency. This results in count-
less shadings along the colour spectrum from blue
to green on the one hand and a fascinating juxta-
position of varying degrees of transparency on the
other. In Daniela Schönbächler’s installation, no
less than the heavens and the sun attain a new
visibility. They converge in the artwork, are reflec-
ted and scatter again. They bring the cylinder to
life and to light.                        

Architecture Today 2018
Luzerner Zeitung 30-01-18
Art at Westagte 2018
Magazine Architects N°10-2018
Dixon Jones 2 2020
Zug Kultur 03-21

Tim Macfarlane Engineer, London UK 
Architectural Metalworkers, Newcastle UK
Claudio Holdener, Zug CH 
Glas Trösch, Bützberg CH 
Gerhrig Boren Planung AG, Subingen CH 

Tomoko Nagakawa, London UK 
Lorenz Ehrismann, Winterthur CH 



Installation view | New Road Central Oxford

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