The Tower of Babel is composed of 3,000 individual bone china buildings, each measuring 10 – 13cm tall and depicting a real London shop. Barford has photographed over 6,000 shop fronts in the process of making the Tower, cycling over 1,000 miles to visit every postcode in London. The photographs were created as ceramic transfers and fired onto fine bone china to produce the individual shops.
The Tower reflects London’s society and economy, inviting visitors to view themselves as consumers. At its base the shops are derelict, while at its pinnacle are London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries, with the Tower appearing more precarious towards the top. Standing as a monument to the British pastime of shopping, Barford’s ceramic Tower likens efforts to find fulfillment through consumerism with the biblical Tower of Babel’s attempt to reach heaven.
Each of the 3,000 individual shop fronts that feature in The Tower of Babel are available to purchase through the V&A Shop. Handmade in Stoke-on-Trent by 1882 Ltd and signed by Barnaby Barford, the bone china shop fronts will be priced between £95 and £6,000.