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Post Works - Air Balloon Hill Primary School

As part of Primary/Bristol series of art commissions, artist collective Postworks will develop an art work for Air Balloon Hill Primary School, St George, Bristol.

Artist Proposal: 

Post Works create expanded sculptural and architectural environments activated by moving image, sound, performance and events.  Since its inception in 2009, Post Works have produced projects and works for galleries, theatres and performance venues as well as site-specific locations. 

‘In other words, the playground, instead of telling the child what to do (swing here, climb
there) becomes a place for endless exploration, of endless opportunity for changing play.’ –
Isamu Noguchi, 1952

For their commission at Air Balloon Hill Primary School Post Works responded to the need for a space where the school could gather for outdoor events and performances whilst allowing the playground to be used for day-to-day activities. The artwork draws inspiration from the playground projects of artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi (quoted above), whose compositions of abstract shapes and forms invite imaginative interpretation by children rather than presenting instantly recognisable shapes and forms.

Post Works proposed a black line in space, to appear as if a drawing from the ground has been lifted into the air. Like a proscenium arch in an indoor theatre, the steel structure presents a framed view or notional stage for performances. A pair of red curtains, fabricated by a sailmaker in Bristol, will dress the structure for performances and events.
The painted pattern on the ground, reflects the geometry of the structure above and mimics the shadows it casts on the ground.

Post Works 

Post Works is a constantly evolving collaborative practice founded by Melissa Appleton and Matthew Butcher in 2009.  Post Works regularly collaborates with artists, designers and other practitioners across the fields of art, design and performance.  Recent projects include Writtle Calling/2EmmaToc (2012), a radio station and performance space in Essex; Boy Oh Boy, Am I Living (2012), a video work and environment presented at Milton Keynes Gallery; and Wash House Carnival (2012), exhibited at The CAAA Centre for Art and Architecture Affairs in Guimarães, as part of the 2012 European Capital of Culture, Portugal.


Matthew Butcher is a designer and academic and founding member of Post Works. He is cofounder and editor of architectural fanzine P.E.A.R. and is Lecturer in Architecture and Performance at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Melissa Appleton is an artist and founding member of Post Works.  Her work investigates the propagation of sound and image in technological and material systems, taking the form of expanded environments including video, text and sound.  She currently teaches at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and the Royal College of Art London.

Manuel Jimenez Garcia is currently Course Master of Research Cluster 4 at the MArch Graduate Architectural Design (GAD) and Unit Master of MArch Unit 19, both at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.  He is also curator of the Bartlett Computational Plexus and Programme Director at the Architectural Association's Visiting School in Madrid (AAVSM).  He is the co-founder of madMdesign, an architecture practice based in London.

Maria Olmos Zunica is Interior designer graduated from Polytechnic University of Architecture of Madrid. She holds an MA from Domus Academy in Milan and a Retail Design Master course from Central Saint Martins in London. She is currently studying at the Architectural Association of School of Architecture, London.  She is co-founder of madMdesign and founder of Dokko, a 3d print jewellery brand based in London and Spain.


Air Balloon Hill Primary School, Hillside Road, St George, Bristol BS5 7PB


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Air Balloon Hill Primary School opened on the 1st of September 2009 following the amalgamation of two successful, but separate, infant and junior schools. The school, which is situated in the East Bristol suburb of St George, was built in 1905 and architecturally is fairly typical of schools built at that time. In 2012-2013 extensive work was carried out and the school now benefits from new classrooms, a state of the art front entrance and an extended school kitchen. The finished buildings combine the best of old and new – 1905 grandeur with 21st century efficiency and beauty. Air Balloon Hill Primary School strive to be the best academically, to care for the environment and develop good relationships in their community, locally and internationally. Their school motto is ‘We look to the stars, not our feet.’ 

This commission is part of a series of public art commissions curated and managed by Arnolfini for Primary/Bristol; a Bristol City Council and LEP,(Local Educational Partnership) initiative designed to transform aging primary schools across England into state-of-the-art learning environments over the next 15 years. More information on Arnolfini’s involvement here.