Selldorf Architects recently completed a new gallery for Hauser & Wirth in London. As the city’s largest commercial gallery, the 20,000 sq. ft space on Savile Row is comprised of two distinct column-free galleries and a separate level of administrative space. The two exhibition spaces totaling 10,500 sq. ft. are distinguished in character and feel by their contrasting material palettes, rich wood in one and cool concrete in the other. Lighting design was also deployed distinctly in the space creating two unique environments for the viewing of art.
This new gallery will complement Hauser & Wirth’s existing London galleries at 15 Old Bond Street and Piccadilly, both designed by Selldorf.
Text by Selldorf Architects.
Annabelle Selldorf and her studio understand how to create gallery space. Selldorf Architects have designed multiple gallery spaces each with their own personality. In addition to residential, institutional, and commercial spaces, Selldorf Architects have a distinct perspective and knowledge of creating cultural projects. The gallery spaces seems to have a natural and almost innate ability to respond to their context. This respect to context and transformation of spaces is able to meet the needs of displaying and experiencing art. The architectural details do not overtly call attention to the design, nor is it a silent participant in the creation of the space. Achieving a balance is of value for Selldorf Architects and their designs and selection of materials and elements exemplify this.
The Hauser & Wirth Gallery in London demonstrates how careful thinking and design approach to gallery space enables the artwork to contribute to and create a subtle dialogue with architecture. Lightly softening the white box with simple wood flooring creates a genuine and comforting experience. By adding slightly more to the space, it slows the viewer down. By slowing the viewer down, one is able become more pensive on the works present.
Using two contrasting flooring materials, a slight surprise element is introduced creating a less predictable space. The difference in lighting further contributes to this point.
The softening of the gallery space while still maintaining a sense austerity is important to recognize and commend Selldorf Architects for their work on Hauser & Wirth and other cultural projects.