The Caro Communications team were lucky enough to be treated to a sneak preview of the House of Illustration, Witherford Watson Mann’s first completed project since clinching one of architecture’s biggest accolades, the Stirling Prize in 2013. Opening with a blockbuster show, Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories, The House of Illustration is the world’s first gallery wholly dedicated to the genre.
Witherford Watson Mann‘s subtle and delicate re-imagination of this former Victorian office building, provided the perfect sober architectural accompaniment to the frenzied, frantic, and at times macabre illustrations of Blake.
Delicate shades of greens and blues create a gentle ambiance within the gallery and ceiling light wells temper the daylight, filtering it down into the space below. Just as Blake’s many drawings take you on a trip down memory lane, visitors are led through the interconnected rooms of the galleries via a series of cleverly and intricately scaled doorways that echo another childhood favourite, Alice and the Looking Glass.
The exhibition featured a plethora of family favourites including Danny Champion of the World and the Twits, but a particularly moving display of Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, housed expertly within the smaller, more intimate, back gallery stole the show – and was as much heartbreaking, as it was a quiet place of reflection.