Eastcastle Street, with its generous ground floor showrooms and proximity to Oxford Street’s shops, was once the centre of London’s rag trade. In the last few years the area has undergone a shift in identity with the departure of clothing manufacturers to the Far East, and the arrival of several East End art galleries.
Stuart Shave Modern Art occupies the ground floor and basement of a modest 1950’s office building. The design approach was to exploit the positive attributes of the existing building and urban context to the gallery’s advantage. Grey engineering brick piers in the new shopfront create a precise and suitably proportioned base to the brick clad structure above while the optically clear flush glazing accentuates the first gallery’s connection to the street. The layout of the interior is more like a house than a showroom, with a deep entrance loggia, lobby and changes of direction at the entrance to each room, that heighten the gradual sense of calm and remove from the street.
Whilst the galleries are firmly in the tradition of the “white cube”, the client’s characteristic informality steered the design. The office space is within the gallery, removing the familiar separation of the public and private sides of the art business; oak floors and off white wall linings ensure that the white hanging walls are framed within an interior architecture concerned with comfort as well as appearances.
Contemporary art gallery
David Kohn, Jack Green
Alan Baxter Associates
Mendick Waring Ltd
REM Projects Ltd