CITY ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN DURING THE PANDEMIC

CITY ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN DURING THE PANDEMIC

AS CITY DWELLERS AROUND THE WORLD ENDURE COVID-19 LOCKDOWNS, MANY ARE WONDERING HOW LIFE CAN SAFELY RETURN TO “NORMAL”

How will urban centres restore activity safely? Can we build health protection into a city’s DNA?

Our once-packed bars, busy trains and bustling offices now look like hotbeds for the spread of viruses.

Mark Kleinman, professor of public policy at King’s College London, told ITV: “We are in this strange situation where many of the benefits of cities, particularly economic benefits, have turned into vulnerabilities.”

CITIES TAKE ACTION

As we wait for a coronavirus vaccine, authorities are finding ways to make the most of the lockdown.

In Vilnius, plans to allow cafes and restaurants to re-open have been announced.

Officials in Milan, want to capitalise on the absence of cars to introduce an ambitious new network of cycle lanes and walking space.

In the UK, Manchester’s council is reported to be looking at pedestrianising parts of the city centre. While the boroughs of Hackney and Lambeth in London have announced plans to widen pavements, close roads and improve walking and cycling.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced the world’s largest car-free zone initiative, as part of a green recovery plan.

Announcing the “Streetspace” initiative as part of lockdown easing measures, Khan said parts of the city centre would be declared car-free. Some streets would be converted to walking and cycling only, and others restricted to all traffic, excluding buses.

TECHNOLOGY IS HERE TO HELP

While cities may be changing their outdoor layout, adapting indoors spaces will prove more challenging.
Some suggested innovations include: sensor taps, self-cleaning cubicles, designing exists that don’t require human contact and having bathroom attendants.

Darren Comber, chief executive of architectural firm Scott Brownrigg, believes architects have an “implicit responsibility” to take on the problem now.

He has directed the company’s Design Research Unit (DRU) focus to minimising the spread of disease through the built environment.

Potential hygiene solutions could include: titanium door handles heated up through kinetic energy or infrared lights on escalator handrails that kill germs.

Designing carpets to help absorb pathogens and “clean the air”.

Such technologies will be expensive, but Mr Comber said: “The challenge isn’t the costs of doing them, the challenge is the cost of not doing them, in my view.”

However, some measures are raising issues of surveillance and privacy in cities. The UK government has already met opposition over the potential contract-tracing app.

TESTING FOR HYGIENE

Another role for Government could be in ensuring buildings of the future meet minimal levels of hygiene.
“In the same way you have hygiene standards for restaurants, you might have exactly the same for buildings,” Mr Comber suggested.

Such assessments could measure the quality of air, social distancing measures, the safety of entrances and the management of lift space.

Mr Comber added: “We have to bring that public confidence back in and I think one way of doing that would be to have a stringent set of tests that have to be regularly done that then demonstrate that your building does have the measures, that can be evaluated, and then you do get some sort of rating.”

PUTTING A PRICE ON PUBLIC SPACE

TFL and other operators will be thinking how to run services in a way that is safe and keeps people distanced. But will people ever feel comfortable again?

Economic think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that increasing peak-time ticket prices on London’s Tube and buses could help manage passenger numbers.

Mr Comber said the DRU was using computer modelling to create avatars in 3D “parallel worlds”. These simulate how contagions spread through spaces and people can safely flow through transport hubs.

SHARING SPACE

Mr Comber highlighted that living arrangements will be limited by the choices available. He predicted a shift away from open-plan living and a heightened premium on external space.
“What we will need to do in buildings is make them environments where either you can get fresh air or you can have access to external environments,” he said.

Offices could provide workers more access to the outdoors through terraces or open spaces at the top of buildings.

HERE TO STAY

There is so much we don’t know about how the coronavirus pandemic will change our lives.
Will these measures segregate and isolate people even more? Some say cities have a historical ability to adapt and survive. In the history of London, there has been massive changes. Cities are generally resilient, coping with change and coming back stronger than ever.

Change or not, cities like London will not disappear, they are here to stay.

CITY ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN DURING THE PANDEMIC

AS CITY DWELLERS AROUND THE WORLD ENDURE COVID-19 LOCKDOWNS, MANY ARE WONDERING HOW LIFE CAN SAFELY RETURN TO “NORMAL”

How will urban centres restore activity safely? Can we build health protection into a city’s DNA?

Our once-packed bars, busy trains and bustling offices now look like hotbeds for the spread of viruses.

Mark Kleinman, professor of public policy at King’s College London, told ITV: “We are in this strange situation where many of the benefits of cities, particularly economic benefits, have turned into vulnerabilities.”

CITIES TAKE ACTION

As we wait for a coronavirus vaccine, authorities are finding ways to make the most of the lockdown.

In Vilnius, plans to allow cafes and restaurants to re-open have been announced.

Officials in Milan, want to capitalise on the absence of cars to introduce an ambitious new network of cycle lanes and walking space.

In the UK, Manchester’s council is reported to be looking at pedestrianising parts of the city centre. While the boroughs of Hackney and Lambeth in London have announced plans to widen pavements, close roads and improve walking and cycling.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced the world’s largest car-free zone initiative, as part of a green recovery plan.

Announcing the “Streetspace” initiative as part of lockdown easing measures, Khan said parts of the city centre would be declared car-free. Some streets would be converted to walking and cycling only, and others restricted to all traffic, excluding buses.

TECHNOLOGY IS HERE TO HELP

While cities may be changing their outdoor layout, adapting indoors spaces will prove more challenging.
Some suggested innovations include: sensor taps, self-cleaning cubicles, designing exists that don’t require human contact and having bathroom attendants.

Darren Comber, chief executive of architectural firm Scott Brownrigg, believes architects have an “implicit responsibility” to take on the problem now.

He has directed the company’s Design Research Unit (DRU) focus to minimising the spread of disease through the built environment.

Potential hygiene solutions could include: titanium door handles heated up through kinetic energy or infrared lights on escalator handrails that kill germs.

Designing carpets to help absorb pathogens and “clean the air”.

Such technologies will be expensive, but Mr Comber said: “The challenge isn’t the costs of doing them, the challenge is the cost of not doing them, in my view.”

However, some measures are raising issues of surveillance and privacy in cities. The UK government has already met opposition over the potential contract-tracing app.

TESTING FOR HYGIENE

Another role for Government could be in ensuring buildings of the future meet minimal levels of hygiene.
“In the same way you have hygiene standards for restaurants, you might have exactly the same for buildings,” Mr Comber suggested.

Such assessments could measure the quality of air, social distancing measures, the safety of entrances and the management of lift space.

Mr Comber added: “We have to bring that public confidence back in and I think one way of doing that would be to have a stringent set of tests that have to be regularly done that then demonstrate that your building does have the measures, that can be evaluated, and then you do get some sort of rating.”

PUTTING A PRICE ON PUBLIC SPACE

TFL and other operators will be thinking how to run services in a way that is safe and keeps people distanced. But will people ever feel comfortable again?

Economic think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that increasing peak-time ticket prices on London’s Tube and buses could help manage passenger numbers.

Mr Comber said the DRU was using computer modelling to create avatars in 3D “parallel worlds”. These simulate how contagions spread through spaces and people can safely flow through transport hubs.

SHARING SPACE

Mr Comber highlighted that living arrangements will be limited by the choices available. He predicted a shift away from open-plan living and a heightened premium on external space.
“What we will need to do in buildings is make them environments where either you can get fresh air or you can have access to external environments,” he said.

Offices could provide workers more access to the outdoors through terraces or open spaces at the top of buildings.

HERE TO STAY

There is so much we don’t know about how the coronavirus pandemic will change our lives.
Will these measures segregate and isolate people even more? Some say cities have a historical ability to adapt and survive. In the history of London, there has been massive changes. Cities are generally resilient, coping with change and coming back stronger than ever.

Change or not, cities like London will not disappear, they are here to stay.

FURNITURE DESIGNER: GARETH NEAL

FURNITURE DESIGNER: GARETH NEAL

GARETH NEAL, LONDON BASED FURNITURE DESIGNER IS KNOW FOR TAKING TRADITIONAL FORMS AND USING THE LATEST DIGITAL AND ROBOTIC PROCESSES TO REINVENT THEM. NEAL HAS EARNED A REPUTATION AS AN INNOVATIVE FURNITURE DESIGNER.
From his studio in Bethnal Green, he crafts everything from individual pieces of furniture to bespoke commissions, with clients as far afield as New York and Australia. His furniture design straddles the boundaries of sculpture, craft and functionality. Through his collaboration with Zaha Hadid won him the Wood Awards last year. His exhibition Out Of Hand opened this September at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I’m a trained crafts person, but I think of myself as a designer-maker. All of those things are interdependent though, one can’t survive without the others.

WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM?
From the process. Usually, my way in is to think around a technique. Sometimes I will take a new technique and think about how I could redesign a traditional piece of furniture, bringing a new form to something familiar. I use CNC (Computer Numerical Control), where digital designs are used to programme a robotic cutter, giving precise and intricate results.

WHICH OTHER MAKERS DO YOU ADMIRE?
There are lots of people doing exciting things in the field, Max Lamb, Sebastian Cox, Studio Swine, Peter Marigold.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE EAST END?
The vibrancy, the cross-cultural mix, the sense of community, the markets. I’ve lived in the area for years and just moved the studio from Dalston to Bethnal Green.

Check-out his work.

FURNITURE DESIGNER: GARETH NEAL

GARETH NEAL, LONDON BASED FURNITURE DESIGNER IS KNOW FOR TAKING TRADITIONAL FORMS AND USING THE LATEST DIGITAL AND ROBOTIC PROCESSES TO REINVENT THEM. NEAL HAS EARNED A REPUTATION AS AN INNOVATIVE FURNITURE DESIGNER.
From his studio in Bethnal Green, he crafts everything from individual pieces of furniture to bespoke commissions, with clients as far afield as New York and Australia. His furniture design straddles the boundaries of sculpture, craft and functionality. Through his collaboration with Zaha Hadid won him the Wood Awards last year. His exhibition Out Of Hand opened this September at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I’m a trained crafts person, but I think of myself as a designer-maker. All of those things are interdependent though, one can’t survive without the others.

WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM?
From the process. Usually, my way in is to think around a technique. Sometimes I will take a new technique and think about how I could redesign a traditional piece of furniture, bringing a new form to something familiar. I use CNC (Computer Numerical Control), where digital designs are used to programme a robotic cutter, giving precise and intricate results.

WHICH OTHER MAKERS DO YOU ADMIRE?
There are lots of people doing exciting things in the field, Max Lamb, Sebastian Cox, Studio Swine, Peter Marigold.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE EAST END?
The vibrancy, the cross-cultural mix, the sense of community, the markets. I’ve lived in the area for years and just moved the studio from Dalston to Bethnal Green.

Check-out his work.

INTERIORS: PAINT YOUR HOME

INTERIORS: PAINT YOUR HOME

WE ASKED DAVID MOTTERSHEAD, MD OF INDEPENDENT BRITISH PAINT MANUFACTURER LITTLE GREENE, FOR HIS ADVICE ON CHOOSING WALL COLOURS
CHOOSING PAINT IS A VERY PERSONAL THING
We’ve all got our own preferences and associations with colours, so it’s important to follow your instinct and base a palette around something you already adore. It could be a piece of furniture, a fabric remnant or an old poster. Take that as your starting point and don’t be led by trends.

LIGHT PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN CHOOSING PAINT
So use tester pots on large pieces of paper and move the paper around a room during the day and experiment with it in different lighting. Don’t just paint a small patch in one corner of a room because it won’t give you a fair idea of how the colour will work overall.

CHOOSE PAINT FINISHES BASED ON THE USE OF A ROOM.
High traffic areas like halls and open plan spaces need to be wipe-able, so opting for Intelligent Matt emulsion means you can keep your walls looking as fresh as the day they were painted, but without compromising on matt finish.

Generally, if you live in a small space, having a palette that works throughout is ideal, so that transitions from one room to another are harmonious.

For assistance and advice Little Greene London Showroom 020 7935 8844 colourconsultancy@thelittlegreene.com

INTERIORS: PAINT YOUR HOME

WE ASKED DAVID MOTTERSHEAD, MD OF INDEPENDENT BRITISH PAINT MANUFACTURER LITTLE GREENE, FOR HIS ADVICE ON CHOOSING WALL COLOURS
CHOOSING PAINT IS A VERY PERSONAL THING
We’ve all got our own preferences and associations with colours, so it’s important to follow your instinct and base a palette around something you already adore. It could be a piece of furniture, a fabric remnant or an old poster. Take that as your starting point and don’t be led by trends.

LIGHT PLAYS AN IMPORTANT PART IN CHOOSING PAINT
So use tester pots on large pieces of paper and move the paper around a room during the day and experiment with it in different lighting. Don’t just paint a small patch in one corner of a room because it won’t give you a fair idea of how the colour will work overall.

CHOOSE PAINT FINISHES BASED ON THE USE OF A ROOM.
High traffic areas like halls and open plan spaces need to be wipe-able, so opting for Intelligent Matt emulsion means you can keep your walls looking as fresh as the day they were painted, but without compromising on matt finish.

Generally, if you live in a small space, having a palette that works throughout is ideal, so that transitions from one room to another are harmonious.

For assistance and advice Little Greene London Showroom 020 7935 8844 colourconsultancy@thelittlegreene.com

DOCTOR ESPRESSO: THE WORLD’S BEST COFFEE MACHINE ENGINEER

DOCTOR ESPRESSO: THE WORLD’S BEST COFFEE MACHINE ENGINEER

IN CONVERSATION WITH DOCTOR ESPRESSO, THE WORLD’S BEST COFFEE MACHINE ENGINEER.
Thousands of nails punctuate the façade of a Fulmham High Street coffee shop. Inside, the same efforts have been replicated along the bar. The nails spell out “Doctor Espresso” in large letters. The nails spell out “Doctor Espresso” in large letters and were painstakingly hammered in by hand by the “doctor” himself: Russell Kerr. As this labour of love would suggest, he’s not one who goes about things half-heartedly.

Along with his partner, Vanessa Lancellotti, he now runs three cafes in southwest London, the other two in Putney and Clapham.

THE HUB OF THE EMPIRE
The Fulham branch is what he calls “the hub of the empire”. Not only is it his biggest shop and host to his office, but it is also essentially a museum for Russell’s most prized possession: a collection of vintage espresso machines spanning about 30 years from the 1930s onward.

“These were all by top designers,” Russell said, pointing to a collection of about 20 shiny machines lining one wall. “There’s very few of these left in the world. Most have gone to coffee machine heaven – a big scrapyard in Italy – but there is a handful of us who have grabbed all the machines we could find.”

DOCTOR ESPRESSO
Apart from the machines on display, about 15 others are sitting in Russell’s Wandsworth Bridge workshop where he restores them as best as he can. This, he explained, involves sledgehammers, patience and an (sometimes fluctuating) enthusiasm he’s had for this work since he began 30 years ago.

There are plenty of stories if you care to ask: the one with the eagle on top is the only one of its kind left in the world and was rescued from the cobwebs of a dusty restaurant basement in Aberdeen; another is one of few that have English writing (most are in Italian) which had been thrown into a skip in Stratford-Upon-Avon, rescued and re-constructed into a work of art; a third came from eBay when Russell placed a bid of £5,000 – a number far above other bidders.

It wasn’t a shocking price to pay considering the number of times he’s been approached by MUMAC (Museum of the Espresso Coffee Machine) in Milan (which owns the largest collection in the world) offering upwards of £10,000 for just one of his machines.

Other cafe owners have bought espresso machines that have passed through Russell’s workshop. Among other places, find them in London’s Scootercaffè on Lower Marsh Street and Soho’s Bar Italia (said to have some of the city’s best coffee and the oldest working coffee machine).

HIPSTERVILLES
He laughed when asked about the state of the current coffee culture in hipstervilles around the world – the sleek, minimalist, industrial look, the Shoreditch blend. “The wave in Shoreditch at the moment is about making latte art to entertain you even though it doesn’t make it taste any better or any worse.”

Machines that serve up the moustachioed masses of the east end are typically based on a 1938 Gaggia, he explained (or they have curves or the big pillars underneath like the Eterna), but they’ve been fitted out with computers and electric pumps to mimic the action of a spring being compressed and override the need for true barista talents. He admits that even the Dr. Espresso machine has been reconstructed for an automated pour. Employees can engage with customers instead of constantly monitoring the steam pressure, water level, etc.

FAMOUS COLLECTION
Russell and Vanessa have travelled to exhibit their collection and he shared an amusing memory: “When Vanessa and I went to Amsterdam to show our machines, 20-year-olds asked us, ‘What have you done to this? You’ve pimped it out!’ and we said, ‘No, this is an old machine. This is your history. This is where it all started.”

So where do we go from here? “I think the Shoreditch scene will move from using new machines that are replicating the old machines to next putting the old machines back to work. There’s no other challenge left,” Russell said. “When the baristas want to show off their skills, they will really have to show off.”

If that happens, Russell’s espresso machine collection will no doubt garner plenty of attention.

THE RIGHT VIBE
Back in the Fulham hub. The vibe is far from hipster minimalist. Every inch of wall and shelf space is covered; if not by his chrome-covered machines, then by old cameras and photographs (another of his passions), and children’s toys tucked into various nooks (presumably for the entertainment of his two little ones who spend plenty of time running around there). “I didn’t want it looking new,” he said. “As much as it would be nice to have the floors completely spotless and the walls without a mark on them, it just didn’t feel right, you know?”

100 KILOS OF COFFEE EACH WEEK
He’s taken a different approach with the coffee as well. For two years, he used to buy Cravendale milk “from happy cows” and use a wood fire roaster from Rome. One day, he switched to milk from Sainsbury’s down the road and said no one could tell the difference. At half the price, he has stuck to it. “Those things were nice, but people didn’t care. They just wanted the taste of coffee, a kick in the morning; it’s good enough.”

And apparently so: Russell and Vanessa have gone from buying 10 kilos of coffee each week to 100 kilos. There’s a queue outside of the Putney Bridge branch every morning, without fail.

The focus is not so much on being cool and trendy, but on sharing his love for the vintage machines and fostering community. “The community in the shops is infectious. People who would not normally talk to each other? Now it’s all hugs and kisses and good mornings. Everybody mentions the names of people, not just hello. It’s ‘Hi Sasha’, ‘Hi Tricia’, ‘Hi Vivian’…”

Serving up a friendly enough vibe with our morning coffee to encourage a breakdown of the stereotypical silence of Londoners so we can meet our neighbours Sasha, Tricia and Vivian? If that’s not what cafe culture should really be all about, we’re not sure what is!

DOCTOR ESPRESSO: THE WORLD’S BEST COFFEE MACHINE ENGINEER

IN CONVERSATION WITH DOCTOR ESPRESSO, THE WORLD’S BEST COFFEE MACHINE ENGINEER.
Thousands of nails punctuate the façade of a Fulmham High Street coffee shop. Inside, the same efforts have been replicated along the bar. The nails spell out “Doctor Espresso” in large letters. The nails spell out “Doctor Espresso” in large letters and were painstakingly hammered in by hand by the “doctor” himself: Russell Kerr. As this labour of love would suggest, he’s not one who goes about things half-heartedly.

Along with his partner, Vanessa Lancellotti, he now runs three cafes in southwest London, the other two in Putney and Clapham.

THE HUB OF THE EMPIRE
The Fulham branch is what he calls “the hub of the empire”. Not only is it his biggest shop and host to his office, but it is also essentially a museum for Russell’s most prized possession: a collection of vintage espresso machines spanning about 30 years from the 1930s onward.

“These were all by top designers,” Russell said, pointing to a collection of about 20 shiny machines lining one wall. “There’s very few of these left in the world. Most have gone to coffee machine heaven – a big scrapyard in Italy – but there is a handful of us who have grabbed all the machines we could find.”

DOCTOR ESPRESSO
Apart from the machines on display, about 15 others are sitting in Russell’s Wandsworth Bridge workshop where he restores them as best as he can. This, he explained, involves sledgehammers, patience and an (sometimes fluctuating) enthusiasm he’s had for this work since he began 30 years ago.

There are plenty of stories if you care to ask: the one with the eagle on top is the only one of its kind left in the world and was rescued from the cobwebs of a dusty restaurant basement in Aberdeen; another is one of few that have English writing (most are in Italian) which had been thrown into a skip in Stratford-Upon-Avon, rescued and re-constructed into a work of art; a third came from eBay when Russell placed a bid of £5,000 – a number far above other bidders.

It wasn’t a shocking price to pay considering the number of times he’s been approached by MUMAC (Museum of the Espresso Coffee Machine) in Milan (which owns the largest collection in the world) offering upwards of £10,000 for just one of his machines.

Other cafe owners have bought espresso machines that have passed through Russell’s workshop. Among other places, find them in London’s Scootercaffè on Lower Marsh Street and Soho’s Bar Italia (said to have some of the city’s best coffee and the oldest working coffee machine).

HIPSTERVILLES
He laughed when asked about the state of the current coffee culture in hipstervilles around the world – the sleek, minimalist, industrial look, the Shoreditch blend. “The wave in Shoreditch at the moment is about making latte art to entertain you even though it doesn’t make it taste any better or any worse.”

Machines that serve up the moustachioed masses of the east end are typically based on a 1938 Gaggia, he explained (or they have curves or the big pillars underneath like the Eterna), but they’ve been fitted out with computers and electric pumps to mimic the action of a spring being compressed and override the need for true barista talents. He admits that even the Dr. Espresso machine has been reconstructed for an automated pour. Employees can engage with customers instead of constantly monitoring the steam pressure, water level, etc.

FAMOUS COLLECTION
Russell and Vanessa have travelled to exhibit their collection and he shared an amusing memory: “When Vanessa and I went to Amsterdam to show our machines, 20-year-olds asked us, ‘What have you done to this? You’ve pimped it out!’ and we said, ‘No, this is an old machine. This is your history. This is where it all started.”

So where do we go from here? “I think the Shoreditch scene will move from using new machines that are replicating the old machines to next putting the old machines back to work. There’s no other challenge left,” Russell said. “When the baristas want to show off their skills, they will really have to show off.”

If that happens, Russell’s espresso machine collection will no doubt garner plenty of attention.

THE RIGHT VIBE
Back in the Fulham hub. The vibe is far from hipster minimalist. Every inch of wall and shelf space is covered; if not by his chrome-covered machines, then by old cameras and photographs (another of his passions), and children’s toys tucked into various nooks (presumably for the entertainment of his two little ones who spend plenty of time running around there). “I didn’t want it looking new,” he said. “As much as it would be nice to have the floors completely spotless and the walls without a mark on them, it just didn’t feel right, you know?”

100 KILOS OF COFFEE EACH WEEK
He’s taken a different approach with the coffee as well. For two years, he used to buy Cravendale milk “from happy cows” and use a wood fire roaster from Rome. One day, he switched to milk from Sainsbury’s down the road and said no one could tell the difference. At half the price, he has stuck to it. “Those things were nice, but people didn’t care. They just wanted the taste of coffee, a kick in the morning; it’s good enough.”

And apparently so: Russell and Vanessa have gone from buying 10 kilos of coffee each week to 100 kilos. There’s a queue outside of the Putney Bridge branch every morning, without fail.

The focus is not so much on being cool and trendy, but on sharing his love for the vintage machines and fostering community. “The community in the shops is infectious. People who would not normally talk to each other? Now it’s all hugs and kisses and good mornings. Everybody mentions the names of people, not just hello. It’s ‘Hi Sasha’, ‘Hi Tricia’, ‘Hi Vivian’…”

Serving up a friendly enough vibe with our morning coffee to encourage a breakdown of the stereotypical silence of Londoners so we can meet our neighbours Sasha, Tricia and Vivian? If that’s not what cafe culture should really be all about, we’re not sure what is!

4 GREAT SHOREDITCH GALLERIES

4 GREAT SHOREDITCH GALLERIES

FOR SUCH A SMALL AREA, SHOREDITCH PUNCHES ABOVE ITS WEIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO CREATIVITY.
Art and design practically flow into the drains here. We’ve put together four of the best Shoreditch galleries: head to any or all to soak up the vibes yourself…

STOLENSPACE GALLERY
Despite their best efforts not to pigeonhole the work they exhibit, StolenSpace have quite a reputation for street art. In fact, they’re regarded as one of London’s best places for showcasing the genre. The artist-run space sits in the Truman Brewery on Osborn Street. It has a history of hosting ambitious and high-profile shows. Over the years, the likes of Shepherd Fairey, D*Face and David Bray have exhibited here.

KEMISTRY GALLERY
According to Richard Churchill and Graham McCallum (Kemistry founders), the gallery’s aim has always been to bring design to new audiences. So it’s probably no surprise that they’ve developed into one of London’s most exciting creative venues. In its decade-long lifespan, Kemistry has had a big hand in the success of prominent British artists such as James Joyce and Daniel Eatock, while international collectives like Experimental Jetset have also chosen to show here.

RICH MIX
Not just a clever name, Rich Mix offers creativity in all its glorious forms. Live music, theatre, poetry, film, art, design and illustration. Okay, so it’s a little different from the other venues on this list, but the charity behind the cross-media arts centre, The Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, has a pretty inspiring goal. To offer the public a space to learn about the creative contributions of people from different migrant communities. Since taking over the former garment factory on Bethnal Green Road, Rich Mix has put on countless free exhibitions, screenings and performances.

PURE EVIL
Charles Uzzell-Edwards, a.k.a Pure Evil, began his street art adventure in 90s California. Son of renowned painter, John Uzzell Edwards, Pure Evil’s strong graphic design background is what brought him back to London in 2007 to open his own gallery and spread his visual messages. The gallery on Leonard Street acts as a revolving door of talent, with the work of major names such as Deedee Cheriel, Poster Boy and Felipe ‘Flip’ Yung having graced its walls.

4 GREAT SHOREDITCH GALLERIES

FOR SUCH A SMALL AREA, SHOREDITCH PUNCHES ABOVE ITS WEIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO CREATIVITY.
Art and design practically flow into the drains here. We’ve put together four of the best Shoreditch galleries: head to any or all to soak up the vibes yourself…

STOLENSPACE GALLERY
Despite their best efforts not to pigeonhole the work they exhibit, StolenSpace have quite a reputation for street art. In fact, they’re regarded as one of London’s best places for showcasing the genre. The artist-run space sits in the Truman Brewery on Osborn Street. It has a history of hosting ambitious and high-profile shows. Over the years, the likes of Shepherd Fairey, D*Face and David Bray have exhibited here.

KEMISTRY GALLERY
According to Richard Churchill and Graham McCallum (Kemistry founders), the gallery’s aim has always been to bring design to new audiences. So it’s probably no surprise that they’ve developed into one of London’s most exciting creative venues. In its decade-long lifespan, Kemistry has had a big hand in the success of prominent British artists such as James Joyce and Daniel Eatock, while international collectives like Experimental Jetset have also chosen to show here.

RICH MIX
Not just a clever name, Rich Mix offers creativity in all its glorious forms. Live music, theatre, poetry, film, art, design and illustration. Okay, so it’s a little different from the other venues on this list, but the charity behind the cross-media arts centre, The Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, has a pretty inspiring goal. To offer the public a space to learn about the creative contributions of people from different migrant communities. Since taking over the former garment factory on Bethnal Green Road, Rich Mix has put on countless free exhibitions, screenings and performances.

PURE EVIL
Charles Uzzell-Edwards, a.k.a Pure Evil, began his street art adventure in 90s California. Son of renowned painter, John Uzzell Edwards, Pure Evil’s strong graphic design background is what brought him back to London in 2007 to open his own gallery and spread his visual messages. The gallery on Leonard Street acts as a revolving door of talent, with the work of major names such as Deedee Cheriel, Poster Boy and Felipe ‘Flip’ Yung having graced its walls.

AMY PENNINGTON: ASSUMING TO MUCH

AMY PENNINGTON: ASSUMING TO MUCH

ARTIST AMY PENNINGTON WORKS COLLABORATIVELY WITH HER SUBJECTS.

Her most recent project, Assuming Too Much, is the result of a six month long residency at Open Barber, a gender-neutral barbers shop and hairstylist in N1.

Amy drew willing customers’ hair after they’d had it cut. All of the subjects were drawn without their faces to ensure the collection of sketches could be used to create a look book for the salon. The result is a series of pictures that doesn’t appear gendered in the way they might with traditional model shots. We caught up with Amy to find out more.

WHAT DREW YOU TO OPEN BARBERS?
I love what they are doing at the salon, they’re offering a service you can’t find elsewhere. I’m queer, so I’ve always been interested in issues around sexuality and gender. A hairdressing salon is an intimate space and people often form a real bond with their stylist, so it felt like a privilege to become part of Open Barbers. I’m fascinated by barber’s shops and hairdressers as spaces of transformation. They facilitate self-expression and I wanted to explore how this feeds into ideas about identity.

IS IT FAIR TO SAY THERE’S SOMETHING A BIT ANTHROPOLOGICAL ABOUT IT?
Not really. It’s more collaborative than that. What I’ve enjoyed about it is the process of creating the sketches with the subjects. Those who were willing sat for me after their haircut. They were free to sit quietly, text, read, or chat. I had so many interesting conversations with the people I drew. We talked about everything from politics and the mundane but interesting details of daily life (what to have for tea), to where that person was on a transitional journey from one gender to another. Once I was finished drawing, I asked each of the sitters to help me choose a title for the portrait, often these were linked to what we’d talked about whilst I drew. Each sitter got a carbon copy of my drawing too,an artwork just for them.

DO YOU HAVE A SET WORKING PROCESS AS A GENERAL RULE?
More and more I find inspiration in issues that appeal to me – what I see happening in the world. My ideas come from people and I’m interested in anyone on the outskirts of society. In another recent project, I spent some time in a care home creating a variety of work, ranging from collage to video, with individual residents. We made each of these together and I got to know them through the process. It’s really important to me to take care to avoid misrepresenting people, to think ethically about the way I work. Personal connection and a desire to engage with people and give voice to the voiceless tends to be at the heart of everything I try to do.

AMY PENNINGTON: ASSUMING TO MUCH

ARTIST AMY PENNINGTON WORKS COLLABORATIVELY WITH HER SUBJECTS.

Her most recent project, Assuming Too Much, is the result of a six month long residency at Open Barber, a gender-neutral barbers shop and hairstylist in N1.

Amy drew willing customers’ hair after they’d had it cut. All of the subjects were drawn without their faces to ensure the collection of sketches could be used to create a look book for the salon. The result is a series of pictures that doesn’t appear gendered in the way they might with traditional model shots. We caught up with Amy to find out more.

WHAT DREW YOU TO OPEN BARBERS?
I love what they are doing at the salon, they’re offering a service you can’t find elsewhere. I’m queer, so I’ve always been interested in issues around sexuality and gender. A hairdressing salon is an intimate space and people often form a real bond with their stylist, so it felt like a privilege to become part of Open Barbers. I’m fascinated by barber’s shops and hairdressers as spaces of transformation. They facilitate self-expression and I wanted to explore how this feeds into ideas about identity.

IS IT FAIR TO SAY THERE’S SOMETHING A BIT ANTHROPOLOGICAL ABOUT IT?
Not really. It’s more collaborative than that. What I’ve enjoyed about it is the process of creating the sketches with the subjects. Those who were willing sat for me after their haircut. They were free to sit quietly, text, read, or chat. I had so many interesting conversations with the people I drew. We talked about everything from politics and the mundane but interesting details of daily life (what to have for tea), to where that person was on a transitional journey from one gender to another. Once I was finished drawing, I asked each of the sitters to help me choose a title for the portrait, often these were linked to what we’d talked about whilst I drew. Each sitter got a carbon copy of my drawing too,an artwork just for them.

DO YOU HAVE A SET WORKING PROCESS AS A GENERAL RULE?
More and more I find inspiration in issues that appeal to me – what I see happening in the world. My ideas come from people and I’m interested in anyone on the outskirts of society. In another recent project, I spent some time in a care home creating a variety of work, ranging from collage to video, with individual residents. We made each of these together and I got to know them through the process. It’s really important to me to take care to avoid misrepresenting people, to think ethically about the way I work. Personal connection and a desire to engage with people and give voice to the voiceless tends to be at the heart of everything I try to do.

POP-UP STRUCTURES: EXPERT ADVICE

POP-UP STRUCTURES: EXPERT ADVICE

FROM EAST LONDON’S BOXPARK TO THE ARTWORKS IN ELEPHANT & CASTLE, AND BRIXTON’S POP, MIXED USE POP-UP STRUCTURES ARE REDEFINING URBAN SPACES. SO ARE THEY THE DYNAMIC FUTURE OF DEVELOPMENT, OR A COMMERCIAL COP-OUT?

We asked Dan Hill, Associate Director at Arup, for his take.

Dan Hills talks about pop-ups

Dan Hill, Associate Director at Arup
“For a trade once predicated on mighty civic investment, to see architecture scrabbling around with leftover materials in the gaps between leftover buildings is a little disappointing. Many pop-ups resist the idea of architecture altogether. Simply taking place in whatever spaces are available; those that engage in new building are generally small parasitical entities, clinging on to the hulk of the existing city, or left alone to grow in the cracks between buildings, like weeds.” he explained.

“Yet just as a weed can be thought of a perfectly reasonable plant caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps these interventions could be useful elsewhere, at another point, when re-framed in an entirely different way? Judged as architecture, through the traditional lens architecture is judged by, there is no there, there. With a different conception of architecture in mind, though, as medium for the production of social effects, these pop-ups and pavilions could be a kind of sketchbook for the city, a form of R&D for civic space, and for architecture itself.” He continued.

Dan Hill runs Arup’s Digital Studio, leading a team that designs, builds and deploys trans-formative digital technology across cities, buildings and organisations.

POP-UP STRUCTURES: EXPERT ADVICE

FROM EAST LONDON’S BOXPARK TO THE ARTWORKS IN ELEPHANT & CASTLE, AND BRIXTON’S POP, MIXED USE POP-UP STRUCTURES ARE REDEFINING URBAN SPACES. SO ARE THEY THE DYNAMIC FUTURE OF DEVELOPMENT, OR A COMMERCIAL COP-OUT?

We asked Dan Hill, Associate Director at Arup, for his take.

Dan Hills talks about pop-ups

Dan Hill, Associate Director at Arup
“For a trade once predicated on mighty civic investment, to see architecture scrabbling around with leftover materials in the gaps between leftover buildings is a little disappointing. Many pop-ups resist the idea of architecture altogether. Simply taking place in whatever spaces are available; those that engage in new building are generally small parasitical entities, clinging on to the hulk of the existing city, or left alone to grow in the cracks between buildings, like weeds.” he explained.

“Yet just as a weed can be thought of a perfectly reasonable plant caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps these interventions could be useful elsewhere, at another point, when re-framed in an entirely different way? Judged as architecture, through the traditional lens architecture is judged by, there is no there, there. With a different conception of architecture in mind, though, as medium for the production of social effects, these pop-ups and pavilions could be a kind of sketchbook for the city, a form of R&D for civic space, and for architecture itself.” He continued.

Dan Hill runs Arup’s Digital Studio, leading a team that designs, builds and deploys trans-formative digital technology across cities, buildings and organisations.

10 MINUTES WITH… SPACE STATION GALLERY’S CURATOR, BEN AUSTIN

10 MINUTES WITH… SPACE STATION GALLERY’S CURATOR, BEN AUSTIN

BEN IS A GALLERIST, CURATOR AND AGENT TO ARTISTS. HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO SPOT BANKSY AND SHOW HIM IN THE EARLY 00S AND HAS CURATED EXHIBITIONS EVERYWHERE FROM SHOREDITCH TO MIAMI

He’s currently directing forthcoming exhibitions at Space Station’s new gallery on Bermondsey Street and is advising the property agency on its innovative programme of displaying art by new talent in some of London’s hottest properties.

WHO HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO FRONT THE OPENING EXHIBITION AT THE NEW GALLERY?
Two up-and-coming artists: Kim Smith and Mark Melvin. Kim’s neon work is beautiful and has a romantic sense of yearning that I really like. There’s an emotional honesty that feels raw and honest.

The exhibition also features two lightboxes by Mark Melvin, and his neon ladder piece: a powerfully poignant visual metaphor.

YOU WERE THERE WHEN THE SHOREDITCH ART SCENE EXPLODED. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THAT TIME?
There was an exciting anti-corporate, anarchic feel about the work coming out of East London in the late nineties and early 2000s. It was around the time that Naomi Klein’s book No Logo came out and there was a fight-the-power mood sweeping London and New York. Street art was political and there was a real feeling of social unrest and creative rebelliousness. It made for a rich, exciting landscape and fertile ground for some game-changing creative thought.

DID THE BANKSY YOU SHOWED SELL OUT?
Unbelievably, it didn’t. It was before his profile exploded. Even so, there was a lot of interest around it. I remember The Big Breakfast asked me to come on with his Che Guevara piece! Everyone could see there was something really fresh and witty about his work. I remember Tim Noble and Sue Webster being at the private view, lots of people admiring the art, but not that much of it sold. That’s hard to imagine now.

STREET ART IS SO OF ITS TIME AND PLACE. WHAT MAKES SOME OF IT ENDURE, AND SOME FADE INTO OBSCURITY?
That’s hard to answer. Sometimes an artist is the first to catch the zeitgeist conceptually, or it may be that they are simply wittier, or more fearless than others when it comes to getting their message across.

DO YOU THINK THE MASS COMMERCIALISATION OF ART IN THE LAST DECADE OR TWO HAS KILLED OFF THE RAW, CREATIVE SPIRIT OF THE LONDON SCENE?
No, I don’t. London will always be relevant and fresh and a creative hub because the art schools are so good, and there are so many of them. Anyone who is serious about art checks out the degree shows. There is always so much that’s new and inspiring to see. I often advise collectors to buy from specific artists who are fresh out of art school.

Ben Austin – Space Station Art Curator

ben@thespacestation.co.uk

10 MINUTES WITH… SPACE STATION GALLERY’S CURATOR, BEN AUSTIN

BEN IS A GALLERIST, CURATOR AND AGENT TO ARTISTS. HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO SPOT BANKSY AND SHOW HIM IN THE EARLY 00S AND HAS CURATED EXHIBITIONS EVERYWHERE FROM SHOREDITCH TO MIAMI

He’s currently directing forthcoming exhibitions at Space Station’s new gallery on Bermondsey Street and is advising the property agency on its innovative programme of displaying art by new talent in some of London’s hottest properties.

WHO HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO FRONT THE OPENING EXHIBITION AT THE NEW GALLERY?
Two up-and-coming artists: Kim Smith and Mark Melvin. Kim’s neon work is beautiful and has a romantic sense of yearning that I really like. There’s an emotional honesty that feels raw and honest.

The exhibition also features two lightboxes by Mark Melvin, and his neon ladder piece: a powerfully poignant visual metaphor.

YOU WERE THERE WHEN THE SHOREDITCH ART SCENE EXPLODED. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THAT TIME?
There was an exciting anti-corporate, anarchic feel about the work coming out of East London in the late nineties and early 2000s. It was around the time that Naomi Klein’s book No Logo came out and there was a fight-the-power mood sweeping London and New York. Street art was political and there was a real feeling of social unrest and creative rebelliousness. It made for a rich, exciting landscape and fertile ground for some game-changing creative thought.

DID THE BANKSY YOU SHOWED SELL OUT?
Unbelievably, it didn’t. It was before his profile exploded. Even so, there was a lot of interest around it. I remember The Big Breakfast asked me to come on with his Che Guevara piece! Everyone could see there was something really fresh and witty about his work. I remember Tim Noble and Sue Webster being at the private view, lots of people admiring the art, but not that much of it sold. That’s hard to imagine now.

STREET ART IS SO OF ITS TIME AND PLACE. WHAT MAKES SOME OF IT ENDURE, AND SOME FADE INTO OBSCURITY?
That’s hard to answer. Sometimes an artist is the first to catch the zeitgeist conceptually, or it may be that they are simply wittier, or more fearless than others when it comes to getting their message across.

DO YOU THINK THE MASS COMMERCIALISATION OF ART IN THE LAST DECADE OR TWO HAS KILLED OFF THE RAW, CREATIVE SPIRIT OF THE LONDON SCENE?
No, I don’t. London will always be relevant and fresh and a creative hub because the art schools are so good, and there are so many of them. Anyone who is serious about art checks out the degree shows. There is always so much that’s new and inspiring to see. I often advise collectors to buy from specific artists who are fresh out of art school.

Ben Austin – Space Station Art Curator

ben@thespacestation.co.uk

DRINKS BY THE POOL WITH LUCY SMALLBONE

DRINKS BY THE POOL WITH LUCY SMALLBONE

SHOWING THIS MONTH IN SPACE STATION GALLERY LUCY SMALLBONE, WE SAT DOWN WITH LUCY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HER WORK AND WHAT SHE REALLY SIPS BY THE POOL

Q&A: LUCY SMALLBONE
Q: What is your artistic background?

A. I did a BA in painting at City and Guilds London Art School 2007- 2010 and then I did a Masters at the Slade school of fine art graduating in 2015. In between I’ve been juggling working as a professional artist whilst also working an array of didn’t art related jobs!

Q. Can you talk to me about your paintings, both of subject matters and technique?

A. I’ve always been interested in landscapes visually and had a passion for reading about fictional spaces such as Utopias. So my paintings really combine these two interests. Depending on the type of landscape I’m painting I always start with a collection of different photos and drawings that I take visual reference from. Then I try to set on the feeling or atmosphere that I want to create, this normally comes from books, films or my own memories.The other half to my practice is probably the more important half which is the process of painting. I am a painter obsessed with paint, especially brushstrokes, textures and vivid colours. During the painting process normally the paint physically alters the landscapes, changing the meanings and taking control of the image.

Q. Your pieces are built up in layers, why is that?

A. I always start my paintings with an interesting ground and then build upwards. With each layer I add I always become attached to brush marks or different sections so end up leaving parts of the under painting showing through. So it ends up sort of like a painted collage.

Q. What is ambition as an artist?

A. After spending many years juggling multiply jobs and painting my biggest ambition is to be a full time painter. More time would give me the space to make mistakes, explore and to contemplate. When you lack time in the studio you end up feeling pressurised to create only successful paintings and failure can be an extremely important part of your practice.

Q. We talk about mark making, why is that important?

A. Mark making is all about the joy of painting. I love paint and most of that love comes from the craft side of my practice. Learning about different mediums and pigments, how they move and what you can push them to be, all adds up into a passion for paint marks.

Q. Which artists do most admire or respect?

A. When I was at school I fell in love with the work of Anselm Kiefer, for the scale and physicality of his work. Recently Karen Mamma Anderson’s work is a huge inspiration, she has a way with mark making and describing space.

Q. How important is painting today, is it still relevant?

A. Yes, there are a lot of great young painters coming through making painting as relevant today as ever.

Q. Which gallery would you like to be represented by?

A. Victoria Miro, I love many of her artists, I used to work at Parasol Unit so would spend of lot of time on the top floor of the Wharf Road Gallery dreaming of the type of show I would want there.

Q. Who is your favourite Victoria Miro artist?

A. Hernan Bass, Alex Hartley, Francesca Woodman and Chantal Joffe

Q. Would you be happy to show your work in art fairs, out of context alongside other people work?

A. Art fairs are relevant as they capture the art world and what is going on at the time.

Q. Have been awarded any prizes?

A. I won two prizes from City and Guilds, a travel prize where I went to Germany and a studio bursary. I also won one from the Slade where I got to go to Chernobyl in Ukraine. The most influential one was definitely my trip to Chernobyl, which was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was a very strange experience being there, as it was incredible beautiful and wild but also you had to keep on reminding yourself to not touch or sit on anything.

DRINKS BY THE POOL WITH LUCY SMALLBONE

SHOWING THIS MONTH IN SPACE STATION GALLERY LUCY SMALLBONE, WE SAT DOWN WITH LUCY TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HER WORK AND WHAT SHE REALLY SIPS BY THE POOL

Q&A: LUCY SMALLBONE
Q: What is your artistic background?

A. I did a BA in painting at City and Guilds London Art School 2007- 2010 and then I did a Masters at the Slade school of fine art graduating in 2015. In between I’ve been juggling working as a professional artist whilst also working an array of didn’t art related jobs!

Q. Can you talk to me about your paintings, both of subject matters and technique?

A. I’ve always been interested in landscapes visually and had a passion for reading about fictional spaces such as Utopias. So my paintings really combine these two interests. Depending on the type of landscape I’m painting I always start with a collection of different photos and drawings that I take visual reference from. Then I try to set on the feeling or atmosphere that I want to create, this normally comes from books, films or my own memories.The other half to my practice is probably the more important half which is the process of painting. I am a painter obsessed with paint, especially brushstrokes, textures and vivid colours. During the painting process normally the paint physically alters the landscapes, changing the meanings and taking control of the image.

Q. Your pieces are built up in layers, why is that?

A. I always start my paintings with an interesting ground and then build upwards. With each layer I add I always become attached to brush marks or different sections so end up leaving parts of the under painting showing through. So it ends up sort of like a painted collage.

Q. What is ambition as an artist?

A. After spending many years juggling multiply jobs and painting my biggest ambition is to be a full time painter. More time would give me the space to make mistakes, explore and to contemplate. When you lack time in the studio you end up feeling pressurised to create only successful paintings and failure can be an extremely important part of your practice.

Q. We talk about mark making, why is that important?

A. Mark making is all about the joy of painting. I love paint and most of that love comes from the craft side of my practice. Learning about different mediums and pigments, how they move and what you can push them to be, all adds up into a passion for paint marks.

Q. Which artists do most admire or respect?

A. When I was at school I fell in love with the work of Anselm Kiefer, for the scale and physicality of his work. Recently Karen Mamma Anderson’s work is a huge inspiration, she has a way with mark making and describing space.

Q. How important is painting today, is it still relevant?

A. Yes, there are a lot of great young painters coming through making painting as relevant today as ever.

Q. Which gallery would you like to be represented by?

A. Victoria Miro, I love many of her artists, I used to work at Parasol Unit so would spend of lot of time on the top floor of the Wharf Road Gallery dreaming of the type of show I would want there.

Q. Who is your favourite Victoria Miro artist?

A. Hernan Bass, Alex Hartley, Francesca Woodman and Chantal Joffe

Q. Would you be happy to show your work in art fairs, out of context alongside other people work?

A. Art fairs are relevant as they capture the art world and what is going on at the time.

Q. Have been awarded any prizes?

A. I won two prizes from City and Guilds, a travel prize where I went to Germany and a studio bursary. I also won one from the Slade where I got to go to Chernobyl in Ukraine. The most influential one was definitely my trip to Chernobyl, which was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was a very strange experience being there, as it was incredible beautiful and wild but also you had to keep on reminding yourself to not touch or sit on anything.

HOW TO BUY ART

HOW TO BUY ART

WE ASKED JASON CAREY, DIRECTOR, IMPRESSIONIST & MODERN ART, AT CHRISTIE’S FOR HIS ADVICE ON WHAT TO BEAR IN MIND IF YOU WANT TO BUILD AN ART COLLECTION:

1) DO YOUR RESEARCH
As with any investment, the importance of research can’t be overstated. Provenance and authenticity are paramount and understanding the market context by checking the price precedent of similar works will ensure you’re informed. Although notes in auction and exhibition catalogues are useful, the best approach is personal – talk to people to get first-hand insights. Auction house experts, as well as gallerists, dealers and curators, love to share knowledge.


2) AN ARTWORK IS A LIVING OBJECT
Collectors should be fully appraised of the condition of a work and any historical restoration as well as the relevant conservation practices to maintain its condition. For example, your Picasso work on paper will be worth more to the market in 10 years if it is installed in an acid-free setting, behind UV reflective glass and hung out of direct sunlight.


3) TRUST YOUR TASTE AND INSTINCT AND BUY FOR PASSION
Advisors are certainly beneficial to consult when discussing elements of price and commerciality, however, it’s important to buy work that resonates with you personally. While value and appreciation potential are important, anything you buy and hang at home should bring you enjoyment.


4) DON’T BE PUT OFF BY THE PRICES THAT MAKE THE HEADLINES
While headlines in the media tend to focus on the multi-million pound record breaking lots that sell at auction, works of art by leading names, across periods, can be bought for under £10,000, sometimes with prices starting around the £1,000 mark.

Credit: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), 1955. Oil on canvas. 44 7/8 x 57 5/8 in. (114 x 146.4 cm.) © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2015

HOW TO BUY ART

WE ASKED JASON CAREY, DIRECTOR, IMPRESSIONIST & MODERN ART, AT CHRISTIE’S FOR HIS ADVICE ON WHAT TO BEAR IN MIND IF YOU WANT TO BUILD AN ART COLLECTION:

1) DO YOUR RESEARCH
As with any investment, the importance of research can’t be overstated. Provenance and authenticity are paramount and understanding the market context by checking the price precedent of similar works will ensure you’re informed. Although notes in auction and exhibition catalogues are useful, the best approach is personal – talk to people to get first-hand insights. Auction house experts, as well as gallerists, dealers and curators, love to share knowledge.


2) AN ARTWORK IS A LIVING OBJECT
Collectors should be fully appraised of the condition of a work and any historical restoration as well as the relevant conservation practices to maintain its condition. For example, your Picasso work on paper will be worth more to the market in 10 years if it is installed in an acid-free setting, behind UV reflective glass and hung out of direct sunlight.


3) TRUST YOUR TASTE AND INSTINCT AND BUY FOR PASSION
Advisors are certainly beneficial to consult when discussing elements of price and commerciality, however, it’s important to buy work that resonates with you personally. While value and appreciation potential are important, anything you buy and hang at home should bring you enjoyment.


4) DON’T BE PUT OFF BY THE PRICES THAT MAKE THE HEADLINES
While headlines in the media tend to focus on the multi-million pound record breaking lots that sell at auction, works of art by leading names, across periods, can be bought for under £10,000, sometimes with prices starting around the £1,000 mark.

Credit: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’), 1955. Oil on canvas. 44 7/8 x 57 5/8 in. (114 x 146.4 cm.) © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2015