A first look at the new Tate St Ives


I love St Ives, I feel emotional about it. Before we lived here we visited often with my family and my husbands family and whenever I pictured it in my head, dreaming of the next visit, it would be a montage of Porthmeor beach, walking cobbled streets past artist and pottery studios, blue skies and the magic light, cream tea's, Barbara Hepworth sculptures and ALWAYS standing in that circular entrance space of the Tate, I love the whole gallery but something emotional stirs in me when standing in that space, I guess thats what great architecture is capable of. The way the sound of the sea echoes around the shell shape is just magical. As well as the views! each window in the gallery frames a beautiful picture of the sea or the lichen covered rooftops of the town.

I was really intrigued how the new extension designed by Jamie Fobert Architects , would sit alongside it and was lucky to go along to the first view last night. Most of the new structure is sunk into the ground to make the most of the space, with large sky lights and a new terrace area featuring angular structures with ceramic cladding that reflect the colours of the sea and sky wonderfully. It is beautifully modern whilst fitting in sympathetically with the natural surroundings.

After a bit of time in my beloved circular shell with the echo of live music, which was a treat, we went inside to explore the new gallery and exhibitions. Another thing that stirs emotion for me and many others is the art that has, and continues to, come out of St Ives. This is showcased wonderfully in the Tate's new permanent collection celebrating the modern art of St Ives in depth. This exhibition leads into the new gallery, a huge modern space with an industrial feel, much like the Tate Modern, cast concrete, vast and column less.

Being underground it has the risk of feeling cold and disjointed but the architects designed six large light chambers above to diffuse the beautiful St Ives light into the space. The concrete beams are also designed to echo the fishing lofts adopted by the St Ives artists in the 1940's. I loved it and think it is a wonderful modern addition to the gallery, Rebecca Warrens new exhibition sits well in the space and I'm excited to see how future exhibitions will look in there.

Theres lots going on for families too, Tate Create is back and has a great interactive display where children can make their own masterpieces with magnetic pieces inspired by paintings on display and Toddle Tate returns on the 14th November building giant sculptures inspired by Rebecca Warren.

Be sure to go along to the opening weekend if you can, there will be fun family activities, tours, music and fireworks! Also grab your locals pass for free entry for a year for only £5, available from Saturday.


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