In a very exciting addition to The List, we profile Based Upon, a company that delves into the past and the very essence of nature to produce pioneering works of art that are at once ancient and futuristic.


Led by twin brothers Ian and Richard Abell, Based Upon travels the world to gather narratives, memories, textures & histories. In the London studio, these grow into sculptural works which look at notions of wholeness and separation, the natural and the man-made.


We chat to Ian Abell about the company’s ethos and creative process.

Experiencing Based Upon’s art the viewer can feel as though they are looking at something both known and otherworldly, as if the pieces reach out to a primal memory or knowledge that we may now have forgotten.


Can you tell us a bit about the what motivates you to create these pieces and why the natural world plays such an important role in your works?


“Guided by nature, we journey deep into landscape to witness it at its most simple and profound, unearthing the patterns observable at the largest and smallest scales of the known universe. It is an attempt to reconnect with the essential principles of the entire system, in which we, as men and Man, play such a temporal part.”

“We have this innate sense of wholeness, that all things are connected, that in essence we are one. But the world of phenomenon, that we observe, is fragmented, separate and divided; everywhere we look we see boundaries and edges. Things are labelled, classified, made distinct. Yet looking out as far as we can, appears boundless and when we take the time to look in we may perceive a similar infinite space. So we are living between these two realities of wholeness and fragmentation, much of our work is an expression of that. “

How does the journey differ when working on commissions?



“Our approach to commissioned work is an attempt to go beyond commodification, to touch the kind of value measurable by the heart. We believe that by helping our clients tell their stories, we can bring to life works which endure. These works move into the realm of the priceless because they have such significance to those who commission them. In an increasingly digital world, these physical works, which honour the past and the future, represent true legacy.”

G.A had the opportunity to collaborate with you on some artwork and specialist finishes for the Corinthia Hotel London. Can you tell us a bit more about this particular project?


“In 2011, Based Upon were privileged to create the feature artwork for the reception of Corinthia, London’s newest Grand Hotel. The centrepiece of the reception area is a 3 m x 3 m artwork in bronze. A hand carved river bisects the work and encases, under resin, a, delicately etched, 20 mile panorama of the London skyline. The river and the engraved skyline continues its journey through the marble of the reception desk. The artwork references Corinthia’s location close to the river and to the site of the original Charing Cross; the point from which all other distances were measured and officially recognized as the centre of London. All of the textural marks within the work are created using natural elements collected around the site, principally the leaves of the London Plane trees in Northumberland Avenue. The leaves extend into their own installation across the hotel’s elevator doors where they form an intricately textured autumnal skyline.”

Ian Abell

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