Drawings and sculpture by architect Sam Jacob at Betts Project


‘Empire of Ice Cream,’ a solo exhibition at London gallery Betts Project by architect Sam Jacob, showcases a series of drawings made on graph paper along with three sculptures “that together explore the significance of fragmented architecture and our ability of recollection”. Jacob is founding principal at Sam Jacob Studio, a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and formerly a founding director of FAT Architecture.

The drawing series was inspired by a 2011 brief for the second issue of San Rocco magazine, ‘The Even Covering of the Field’, and investigate space “as a sprawl of fragments that stretch to the horizon”, says the architect. They comprise remnants of architectural plans – of both monumental and mundane structures – gathered from an assortment of historic and contemporary references, and seek to capture something of the all-consuming nature of contemporary space.


From top: ‘Empire of Ice Cream’ Nos. 7, 9 and 5. Ink on graph paper.

The exhibition’s title is drawn from a 1922 Wallace Stevens poem (‘The Emperor of Ice Cream’), but makes oblique allusion to the one-time employment of Margaret Thatcher as an industrial chemist, working to enhance soft-serve ice cream. “It is from within this ambivalence of something sweet and desirable yet regressively produced that this exhibition departs”, says the architect.

‘Sam Jacob: Empire of Ice Cream’
Betts Project, London EC1V
Until 9 March