IKON Gallery, Birmingham

I popped into the IKON Gallery on Sunday as we were passing. I’d forgotten what an impact the building has on me. It was built as Oozells Street School in 1887 and boasts stunning bright orange-red terracotta detailing.

I first visited the Gallery as a teenager and feel reassured remembering the impact the building first made on me way back then and feel the same way now, stood infront of the building.



This building’s conversion to an Art Gallery is a great example of successfully mixing historic fabric with contemporary function. Both elements add and support each other. When you combine hundred(s) of  years of history in an historic building with the promise of the

future something fantastic happens in the space. This conversion has utilised the large interior spaces well and the glass and steel lift extrusion added to the exterior offers an up-close tour of the building. Either as your rise up the glass lift or as you walk up the stairs, you’re face to face with the beautifully profiled string courses and decorative bullnose stops.




And I haven’t even started on the art! Until 13th February Len Lye’s Retrospective Exhibition is on.


My favourite pieces are what he called his ‘tangibles’ or “tangible motion sculptures”: If there was such a thing as composing music… there could be such a thing as composing motion. The giant steel blades and rod sculptures rotated, swung or span creating their own resonance the result was not only musical but also exciting and at times frightening.

Visually, technically and intellectually stimulating. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year. Thanks IKON.

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