The Victoria and Albert Museum attracts millions of art lovers every year to South Kensington, in west London, but until now the area has never been a hub for art galleries. A £15m development project by John Martin, the co-founder and former fair director of Art Dubai, and Scott Murdoch, the managing partner of CWM, the property adviser and gallery specialist, aims to change that.
Five large, listed buildings on Cromwell Place, located opposite the Natural History Museum and at the heart of the cultural zone of ‘Albertopolis’, will provide 35,000 sq. ft of flexible exhibition space for up to 16 galleries, as well as offices and storage space. The idea is offer a full package to art businesses that could not afford conventional gallery space.
Martin says that the complex, scheduled to open in 2018, will maintain “the intimacy of the traditional gallery space while also replicating some of the qualities that have made art fairs so successful. We’re predominantly targeting commercial galleries, but we’re also open to working with institutions and independent curators and consultants.” The lack of local galleries and the area’s high concentration of wealthy potential clients could prove a winning combination.