Robert Soning, COO of urban developers Londonewcastle: “We tend not to plan the brief so much but allow the art itself to lead the way. The ethos of the business is to recognise and celebrate the best in contemporary design – be it architecture, furniture, lighting, painting, sculpture, music, performance, but with a less obvious reference point than others might adopt. Clearly there are spaces which are suitable for art and these are largely the same in each development – lobby areas, communal spaces, gardens, exterior facades, etc; however, the context is always different.”
Early on, Rob and his partner David Barnett realised that their customers were seeing art in public and entertainment spaces in London – notably restaurants and clubs. So it seemed natural that art should extend out of these spaces and into shared space in developments; such as reception areas, lifts, club and private dining rooms, external terraces and gardens. They saw a natural affinity between Londonewcastle and their customers for displaying art in their developments.
For a recent development in Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, Londonewcastle collaborated with Marco Brambilla – the Milan born, New York-based video collage and installation artist, to feature one of his works in the lift at the development. The idea was to enhance the often boring experience of travelling in lifts to a more fun level where you feel energised from the ground floor to the private apartments above. Rob explains…”We think it will really make the common parts and will appeal to our target market of creatives who live around Exmouth Market.” And he was right – the development is now all sold.
Mark Pollack, Director of top end central/NW London agency, Aston Chase: “It is increasingly common for developers to work in partnership with galleries to ‘dress’ new developments transforming bland spaces with an invaluable injection of colour and lifestyle. In some cases the art is purchased, but in most cases it is loaned by the gallery on the premise that it is more often than not a ‘win, win’ situation for both the developer and gallery as most buyers purchasing ‘turn-key’ properties tend to want to buy them lock stock and barrel.”