A new gallery “hub” set to open in South Kensington in 2018 is expected to boost London’s profile in the international art market, the Financial Times reported on 2 March.
Cromwell Place will offer UK-based and international art dealers the opportunity to exhibit and store their artworks in a central London location. Situated in a row of heritage buildings on Cromwell Place, the development will feature 16 ground-floor gallery spaces, room for around 35 dealers to have offices and viewing rooms and a climate-controlled art storage unit in the courtyard.
The brainchild of art dealer John Martin and developer Scott Murdoch of CWM retail property consultancy, Cromwell Place is seen as a solution to soaring rental prices which have forced many London art traders to relocate. Martin moved his own gallery to the first floor of its Mayfair address in 2015 when his ground-floor rent of £90,000 per year was set to triple.
“With the polarisation of the art trade into the mega-galleries and the rest, the smaller players have a hard time finding somewhere to prosper and grow,” Martin told the FT.
Cromwell Place is inviting these smaller players to come in from the cold and use its gallery spaces for two-week shows at around 10-20% of the average cost of exhibiting a one-week contemporary art fair.
“It will work for so many different organisations — for international galleries wanting a London presence; for London galleries who need to move from rising rents, and those wanting to move to a more central location,” says Martin.
With the project set to open in 2018 and the final phase planned for 2020, Martin is already inviting art galleries to express interest in the development.
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