Pavilion Pavilion: The contemporary stained glass studio

We meet Jack Brindley, the artist behind Pavilion Pavilion, creating immaculate work in contemporary stained glass

Article by Stacey Hunter | 12 Apr 2023
  • Pavilion Pavilion

Under the alias Pavilion Pavilion, Edinburgh’s Jack Brindley has been developing a unique aesthetic style in architectural glass exploring contemporary compositions in relation to architecture. Working with a variety of clients, and across a wide range of projects, Brindley is challenging preconceived ideas about stained glass with his modern and minimalist approach. 

His distinctive style can be found in front doors and fan lights in a number of Glasgow tenements where his clients tend to be fellow artists and designers. Each work is a unique and individually commissioned piece. Two large permanent installations for David Dale Gallery demonstrate how stained glass can bring a rich decorative element to post-industrial spaces. In 2021 Pavilion Pavilion created a unique threshold for The Future of Home, a Local Heroes design exhibition at London Design Festival where two doors at the entrance to the gallery were installed with vivid blue and clear diagonal glass sections.

A stained glass window with sections in yellow.
Photo: Reuben Paris

The growing public interest in contemporary stained glass is evident from the number of domestic commissions Pavilion Pavilion have produced, yet as a design discipline it remains largely understood as a heritage craft in many people’s eyes.

“I think if you were to ask most people if they can think of any examples of stained glass they admire, they might reference a religious or historic building but rarely pin an artist's name to the work or be aware of contemporary examples. For a material that brings so much awe and interest it seems strange that there aren’t more contemporary examples of art glass in buildings.”

Although glass as a material is ubiquitous in modern buildings, it could be argued that its decorative possibilities have been overlooked in many contemporary architectural projects – something that Pavilion Pavilion is well-placed to ameliorate.

Jack Brindley in his studio.
Jack Brindley. Photo: Suzanne R Livingstone

“Glass has probably overtaken concrete in terms of its visual presence in buildings, so the glazing industry and its demands are high; yet I believe that it's a hugely under-exploited territory in an artistic sense. It’s a big responsibility working with glass because it is the control of natural light, and how a building connects to the outside world. These aspects are hugely important and therefore need to be handled delicately. Not every window ought to be replaced with an artwork, but there are spaces that can be opened up in buildings that allow for an aesthetic proposition.”

The studio – which operates out of the award-winning rectangular cloisters of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop – has recently been working with architects to weave glasswork into the fabric of buildings at an early design stage.  

“This is something that really excites me as it's a great opportunity to bring scale and ambition to a work that is harder to find in traditional period properties. I'm currently working on new bonding techniques which allow for stained glass to be produced without traditional lead, and to embrace contemporary demands on buildings such as double glazing, safety requirements, solar gain and sound-proofing. There is a fantastic opportunity for glass to tackle these demands whilst providing an exciting aesthetic counterpart.”

A stained glass window with curved clear and gold panels.
Photo: David Dale Gallery

Brindley, when asked about what might be his dream commission or project, reveals that it is to collaborate with architects and artists on a pavilion or folly. “My stained glass work under the alias Pavilion Pavilion takes its inspiration from post-war architectural pavilions which were designed and built to host exhibitions or propose avant-garde ideas at world fairs. I'm fascinated by how these buildings attempt to bring architecture and the objects that they house into an equivalence. Architecture and art joining forces, making a  ‘forward-looking’ proposition. I would love to explore these ideas through collaboration with architects and artists.”

Current works-in-progress are two large (over five metre) commissions for domestic buildings in Cambridge and Edinburgh and three exhibitions towards the end of 2024 at Union Gallery in London, Patriothall Gallery in Edinburgh and a collaboration with Edinburgh-based stained glass artist Sax Shaw at Custom Lane which is being presented as a manifesto for art glass in the contemporary built environment.