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The Conservatory x Ranjani Shettar

sculptures hang from the ceiling of the Conservatory

Our Conservatory hosts a spectacular new site-specific commission by Indian sculptor Ranjani Shettar.

Cloud songs on the horizon is the artist’s first major institutional show in Europe and features five new, large-scale suspended sculptures across the entirety of the Conservatory space.

Shettar’s sculptures are each handcrafted by the artist and draw inspiration from the complexity of nature – using a range of materials including wood, stainless steel, muslin, lacquer and techniques that have been adapted from traditional Indian crafts.

Special late-night openings on Fridays offer visitors a chance to explore the much-loved tropical oasis after hours, and we'll be announcing dates when the space will be open exclusively for community and school groups to enjoy.

Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon is free and will be available to visit until July 2024. Tickets for March dates are now on sale. Join the waiting list.

Access for the Ranjani Shettar exhibition:

The Conservatory is split between two levels: Level 4 Conservatory Terrace and Level 3 Conservatory/Gallery Floor. Both can be reached via the main lifts. The entrance, for ticket and bag checks, can be found at the Level 4 entrance/exit, where patrons can access our terrace and Arid house. Patrons can then make their way down to Level 3 by going back out the entrance/exit and taking the external lift. Our staff will be there to assist you down to this lower level, to visit the rest of the venue.

With the exception of guide dogs, dogs are not permitted inside the Conservatory. 

For more access information, please visit our Accessibility section or contact the Box Office at [email protected] with any access related enquiries.

Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon has been commissioned in partnership with the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA).

kiran nadar museum of art

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Join our Conservatory waiting list and we'll email you with notice of any new tickets going on sale

When are tickets released?

Tickets for Friday evenings and Sundays in the Conservatory are released every week on Fridays, up to one month in advance.

Admission to the Conservatory is ticketed and free. Select the Check Dates and Book button for the latest opening dates and times.

If you're unable to attend, you can return your free tickets through Orders and Tickets section in your account. 

Join our waiting list to find out when new tickets are available.

In the Conservatory with Ranjani Shettar

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Admission to our Conservatory is free. Please help us keep our programme and public spaces accessible to everyone by making a donation today.

Conservatory facts

  • The Conservatory was designed by the Barbican’s architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, and surrounds the Barbican Theatre’s fly tower, from which scenery for productions taking place on the stage six stories below is lowered into place.
  • The roof is constructed of steel and glass and covers 23,000 square feet, providing cover for over 1600 cubic metres of soil, all of which was hand mixed to a specific requirement.
  • Two of the three pools accommodate koi, ghost, and grass carp from Japan and America, as well as other cold water fish such as roach, rudd, and tench, whilst the other smaller pool (located outside the Arid House) provides a safe haven for terrapins.
  • Planted between 1980 and 1981, and opened in 1984, the Conservatory now houses around 1,500 species of plants and trees, some of which are rare and endangered in their native habitat. The species are a vibrant mix of temperate and arid types ranging from areas as diverse as the rocky deserts and bushland of South Africa to the coastline of Brazil.
  • A varied assortment of the extraordinary flora from around the world includes the iconic tree fern, date palm, the Swiss cheese plant, and coffee and ginger plants all under one roof.
  • There is also an Arid House attached to the east side of the Conservatory with a large collection of cacti and succulents and an overwintering collection of cymbidiums (cool house orchids).
  • For those wanting to learn more about the history and hidden secrets of the Conservatory, a tour takes place on selected Sundays led by the Barbican’s resident gardeners. Book your place here.

Conservatory