Since the late 19th century, two schools of art have grown up in west Cornwall, at Newlyn and St Ives. When Tate St Ives opened in 1993, it was the first public gallery dedicated to the distinctive modern art of the area, presenting the continuing passion for art in the context of Cornwall.
At the heart of the programme of displays and activities is a body of work for which St Ives is internationally known – the modernist art produced by artists associated with the town and its surrounding area from the 1920s onwards. The gallery also presents work by contemporary artists, often responding to the gallery’s displays or to the broader Cornish scene.
Award winning architects Evans & Shalev chose the Blanc de Bierges hand crafted paving materials for the roof terraces and main entrance concourse and approach stairs at the Tate Gallery St Ives, opened by HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Gallery occupies a spectacular site overlooking Porthmeor Beach, close to the studios used by many artists whose work is on display. The museum is a three-storey building, backing directly into the old cliff face and exploiting the dramatic sea views offered by its location.
The warm, creamy buff Blanc de Bierges materials are almost exactly the colour of the sand which makes them ideal for the roof terraces. “It looks as if the beach has been raised into the sky,” said a spokesperson from commissioning body Cornwall County Council.
The architects used a variety of Blanc de Bierges setts, slabs, steps and also pool tiles. The smaller elements providing great flexibility for paving around the many curves incorporated into the design.