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Beautiful Confusion

November 19, 2019 \ Studio
by Andrew Zahn
Beautiful Confusion

We relaunched our ‘Voices’ series of Monday morning talks this week. Over the next few months, colleagues from within the practice will take the opportunity to speak about a subject of interest to them, or else make a provocation to which the rest of us can respond.

Andy Zahn was our first speaker this week, and spoke passionately about finding the balance of looseness and control in art and architecture, and of the results that might emerge. In addition to painting in his personal time, Andy was integral to the development of the ceramic tile panels at the recently completed Leeds Playhouse. In that design, a keen eye might pick out the figures on-stage among the multi-coloured tiles.

Maintaining the right level of precision and control, but not restricting the artistic freedom of the piece, was the overarching theme Andy spoke about. It recurred in historical precedent, in his own painting, and most publicly of all, as part of the new streetscape at Leeds Playhouse.


Plate designs showing different degrees of control and looseness, of precision and freedom.


Development sketches of the Leeds Playhouse ceramic tile panels, exploring the possibilities of figuration through a colouring strategy of free abandon.


Nature painted rapidly, later morphed into other forms. The process starts with instantaneous feelings. Then, new forms are drawn out in a more analytical and controlled way.


Leeds Playhouse panels as built, with the black-tiled ‘actors’ looking out from their stage.

Leeds Look

July 18, 2019 \ Arts & Culture
by Nicola Walls
3973Beautiful Confusion