What do you do when a saint looses his shrine? And what if he was not much of a saint anyway? That was the dilemma I faced when I entered a competition to design a new shrine for a medieval saint – and won! This mystery man rested for more than seven centuries in a marvelous shrine of gold, enamel and jewels. But curatorial issues won out over ancient pieties and the shrine was moved to a new museum. The saints bones, however, were left behind, temporarily secured in a centuries-old lockbox. Rather fitting, when you know what this saint got up to.
I proposed a contemporary house shrine to replace the medieval house shrine. The “letter house” will be laser cut out of bronze plates. What you see here is a full scale trial cut in steel. Inside the house, suspended on thin cables, will be a box of gilded copper containing the bones of our great man. Subtle LED lighting, coming out of the stone floor, will lend an air of mystery.
This project has taken more than two years to plan, design and complete. Working with top German metalsmiths and the experts of Archdiocese X has been a pleasure. The relics will be translated (don’t you love it, translating relics in 2021?!) in February. Then our saint can finally get some rest. I’ll let you know where to bring your candles. Watch this space for photos of the completed shrine.