Cromwell Place in South Kensington will house 14 galleries with a large exhibition space available to hire Courtesy of Cromwell Place
After more than four years in the making, Londons £20m Cromwell Place gallery hub will finally open to the public on 10 October.
Cromwell Place, situated across five Grade II listed townhouses in South Kensington, was due to open in May but the launch was delayed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Co-founded by the art dealer John Martin and the property developer Scott Murdoch of CWM, it will have space for 14 galleries (ranging from 22m sq to 143m sq), shared offices, viewing and meeting rooms and storage, plus a members club (opening next year) and a large exhibition space which can be hired by members for between two to six weeks at a time.
Galleries that have taken spaces include: Lehmann Maupin (London, Hong Kong, Seoul and New York), Addis Fine Art (London and Addis Ababa), Alexander Gray Associates (New York and Germantown), Gallery Wendi Norris (San Francisco), Ingleby Gallery (Edinburgh) and Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai). “London remains one of the largest art markets and an important location for us as a business," says David Maupin of Lehmann Maupin's decision to take a space. "We are very fortunate to have strong leadership in London in our senior director Isabella Icoz, a loyal network of clients who have supported the gallery for years, and the opportunity to pursue ambitious projects with our artists while deepening our relationships with the citys museums and cultural community.”
“We had initially planned a big double-headed opening in May and June, with lots of exhibitions and a party, but that had to be scrapped in March due to the lockdown,” says Preston Benson, Cromwell Places managing director. “Over the summer it became clear from talking to galleries that there was still a demand to open but in a pared down way—instead of focusing on a party, we have to make the most of the fact that the building is a safe, discreet place to view art and is perfectly set out for social distancing.” The building has not had to be refitted to comply with government requirements, Benson says, but while the members hot desk space is still available, “were not seeing a lot of demand for it right now”.
As many galleries are increasingly questioning the wisdom of spending considerable rent on permanent bricks-and-mortar premises—which they were unable to access during the lockdown—Cromwell Places time-share model is seeming more appealing to some. “As terrible as the past six months have been, Covid has accelerated existing trends—it has moved things ahead three to five years, were now living in a state that was expected in 2023 or 2024 with the death of the high-street and growth of online shopping,” Benson says. “A lot of galleries dont see the value of paying 100% of their rent, 100% of the time, so weve had more enquiries.”
Although the official public opening date is 10 October, there will be a week of VIP events the week before (5-9 October) to coincide with “Frieze Week”, such as it is this year without the fair itself. “Frieze or no Frieze, its still a week that is ingrained in the minds of collectors as a key point in the calendar,” Benson says. Visitors can booRead More – Source