"I love it that Claridge’s, a traditional British institution, has built this space for artists and wants to show art at the cutting edge and be open and accessible to everyone’."
Claridge’s ArtSpace will be launched with an inaugural exhibition, ‘Sunshine’, featuring works by long-time friend of the hotel, artist Damien Hirst, presented by HENI. The works, which will be shown together for the very first time, include a series of the artist’s brilliant pipe cleaner animals and examples of his colour chart series. For this exhibition, HENI will accept cryptocurrency as payment for the artworks. It will also be possible to purchase artworks in the exhibition using Tenders from The Currency, Hirst’s first NFT collection.
In addition, from 14th October which is the start of the exchange window for The Currency series, Claridge’s will serve as the exclusive location for pick-up of physical works, which up to now have been stored in a secure vault in the UK. Visitors to ‘Sunshine’ can look forward to receiving digital attendance tokens, in the form of HENI POAPs, which HENI will be issuing for the very first time.
The reveal of Claridge’s ArtSpace further cements Claridge’s position at the heart of the thriving Mayfair art community, both during the annual Frieze art fair and throughout the year. Claridge’s will invite its long-standing friends and gallerists within the art world to stage rotating two-month exhibitions and shows. The 2022 programme will shortly be announced, with a different curator for each show, and an interactive programme of talks and events around each exhibition. This entirely new art space in the heart of London has been designed with approachability at its core, with free access to all. It is intended to become an informal daily drop in for the local art community and Londoners alike, where they can see an inspiring new exhibition, find an original print, or simply enjoy breakfast, lunch or coffee and cake at the upcoming café.
The space is designed by John Pawson, a long-time collaborator of Claridge’s investor Paddy McKillen, having designed his first office in Dublin over 35 years ago. An elegant new staircase will lead down from the ground floor to the ArtSpace located in the hotel’s refurbished Victorian basement. With a ceiling height of nearly 4m and a footprint of 27m x 10m, the ArtSpace will be one of the largest art galleries in Mayfair, with an expanse of contemporary white walls and a pale grey terrazzo floor. The first specifically designed designated art gallery in any luxury hotel in the world, it has been created to museum-quality finish, incorporating temperature control and dedicated art lighting.
This newly created ArtSpace is part of the ground-breaking engineering project that has been undertaken at Claridge’s over the past five years. It has been carved out by hand from the London clay underneath the hotel, with the clay being donated to Claridge’s favourite artists for creating ceramics.
‘The creation of Claridge’s ArtSpace is part of our ongoing commitment to the arts and continued determination and belief in creating ground-breaking and inspiring experiences for our guests. While we always respect our distinguished 200 year history, we look to continually evolve Claridge’s, staying relevant for the next generation. We hope this will be our little gift to them. I am particularly honoured and delighted to open the ArtSpace with an exhibition, supported by HENI, of amazing work by Damien, my great friend and one of my all-time favourite artists.’
‘I am overjoyed to be the first artist to have a show in the new ArtSpace at Claridge’s, an unbelievable new space which has come together through all the dedication and hard work of my great friend Paddy McKillen. In this special presentation for Frieze, presented by HENI, I am showing “the pipe cleaner animals”. They are about the fact that everyone’s an artist, they are a group of works which have never been seen together before - they are big and fun and playful and hopefully they will bring the child out in even the most grown of grown ups! I am also excited that Claridge’s will be the location for pick-up of physical works from my first NFT series, The Currency. I love it that Claridge’s, a traditional British institution, has built this space for artists and wants to show art at the cutting edge and be open and accessible to everyone’.
‘Our history with people and with places is part of what defines us and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate again with Paddy and in so iconic a setting. Aside from the pleasures of friendship, the project at Claridge’s has brought home to me how my work continues to be driven by the idea of making spaces where art and people feel comfortable together.’
John Pawson Claridge’s ArtSpace will open Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm from Tuesday 12th October 2021, on Brooks Mews, London W1.