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Josh Lilley Gallery

London, England

2009

Gallerist Josh Lilley asked us to design his first solo space in Fitzrovia, a vibrant new centre in London's art world. Lilley represents an emerging generation of abstract painters, whose work -often materially dense, expressive and improvised- requires a range of settings and spaces, and a background which is neither distracting nor sterile. We advised Josh in the choice of a former tailor's workshop with a corner ground-floor space and a large basement divided by a series of brick arches.

Working principally in large-scale model with tiny scaled-down paintings, we helped him determine the richest possible curatorial possibilities for the space: a sequence of three basement rooms with varying character and proportion, and a ground-floor volume which behaves as an extension of the street, with simple, built-in furniture and guard rails, unobtrusively detailed. A slot between the stairs and the ground-floor guard rail serves for the delivery of paintings; large storage closets are placed behind new display walls, some big enough to serve as projection rooms. The gallery is designed as a robust kit of parts with many possibilities for evolution.

In the basement we sought to maximise display wall space without effacing the presence of the original brick (and wooden ceiling in one zone), which is kept as a leitmotif through each individual volume. In practice it has proved possible to juxtapose tiny works with, say, the 4 metre-long painting completed by Christof Mascher especially for his solo show in the gallery.