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Spectacular Paul Cocksedge installation tackles fossil fuels this winter at the Old Royal Naval College

Coalescence, a thought-provoking art installation from internationally acclaimed designer Paul Cocksedge is coming to the magnificent Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, this December.

Paul Cocksedge, Coalescence, Old Royal Naval College

The six-metre diameter artwork is made from over 2,500 pieces of coal with a combined weight of over half a tonne – the amount of coal consumed by a single 200W light bulb in a year. Coalescence was developed by Paul Cocksedge to question our relationship with, and dependence on, fossil fuels.

Paul Cocksedge, Coalescence, Photo: Mark Cocksedge
Paul Cocksedge, Coalescence, Photo: Mark Cocksedge

The large-scale sculpture will be suspended in the Painted Hall and illuminated to create a captivating sparkle and shadow play that draws on the lustrous quality of the anthracite, a form of high-carbon coal. Coalescence will be displayed against the grand backdrop of 40,000 square foot of painted walls and ceilings in the Painted Hall, which is the first London venue to host the work. Also displayed will be a never-before-seen, brand-new artwork in the adjoining Nelson Room. 20 Trees blends maths with environmental awareness. Using anthracite blocks, the sculpture subtly conveys a message about ecological balance: if burned, it would take 20 trees an entire year to offset the carbon emissions produced.

20 Trees, Paul Cocksedge

Each work stands as a reminder of the critical balance between human actions and environmental stability, encouraging us to contemplate our relationship with the natural world.

The grandeur of the Painted Hall, with the impressive space it offers, is a perfect frame for this piece. We believe the historic setting speaks to the artwork’s own implicit links with time and British heritage. We are excited to see how the sculpture emphasises and complements the beauty of the awe-inspiring setting.

Paul Cocksedge, co-founder of Paul Cocksedge Studio,

Alongside the installation will be a specially curated programme of events for all, including family events related to Coalescence. Visitors can enjoy an epic Coalescence Dining Experience in the Painted Hall: a sparkling evening meal in the magnificent Baroque hall, taking in the splendour of this unique setting and stunning art installation.

Matthew Mees, Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College, says,

As the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College is a place of wonder and awe that we want to share with people and inspire through art and stories. We are delighted that Paul Cocksedge chose the Painted Hall for the London debut of this remarkable artwork. The setting of this new installation invites our visitors to reflect on the environment, energy, power, time and history.

The installation in the Painted Hall follows successful collaborations between the Old Royal Naval College and contemporary artists such as Luke Jerram, and his artworks Gaia and the Museum of the Moon.

Paul Cocksedge, Coalescence, 9th December 2023 – 4th February 2024 Old Royal Naval College

Tickets available at £15: HERE


Paul Cocksedge, Coalescence Photo: Mark Cocksedge

London-born designer Paul Cocksedge is internationally acclaimed for his installations and architectural projects. The multi-award-winning artist, who lives and works in Hackney, East London, is known for his unorthodox approach to materials in his works, which span public art, sculpture and architectural installation. Science is an ever-present theme within Cocksedge’s works, which address pressing issues of our time from social connection to fossil fuel. Works include Please Be Seated, Hong Kong; Bourrasque Dior, Paris; and Living Watercolour Pavilion, Dubai. Cocksedge co-founded Paul Cocksedge Studio with his business partner and fellow RCA graduate Joana Pinho in 2004. The studio’s work is underpinned by its research into the possibilities of technology, materials and making processes. The studio has collaborated with the V&A, London and luxury brands including Hermès, Swarovski and BMW. Work by the studio is held in collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; V&A; the Design Museum, London; and the Vitra Design Museum, Germany.



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