The Perimeter

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Photograph by Johan Dehlin

In 2013, a young collector approached 6a to convert a vacant mews warehouse in Bloomsbury into a set of spaces for the storage and display of art. The warehouse is situated in a tight corner of one of London's cobbled mews, adjacent to artist studios, houses, a piano shop and a pub. Mostly built at the turn of the century, parts of its fabric date back to the early 1800's, when the mews was built to house workshops, metalworkers and timber yards to support the construction of Bloomsbury's now iconic townhouses.

Deep excavations under the building house new storage racks and archive facilities. Large windows at ground level shed light on the new basement work tables and sliding racks, enabling a comfortable interaction with the collection. Knitted together through a series of double height spaces, a stack of volumes, differently configured and naturally lit, accommodate the art works.

The new precast pale concrete stair, rising from a double height entrance hall, mimics the traditional Georgian cantilever stone stairs found in the nearby townhouses. The nickel silver balustrade has the delicate characteristics of a domestic staircase, what is old, and what is new, institutional or domestic is ambiguous as one moves from working with art in the basement archive rooms to viewing galleries at ground and first floor and living with artworks in the suite of second floor rooms where pitched soffits and circular roof lights soften the rectilinear gallery walls.

The arrangement of spaces draws on the interlocking volumes of the nearby Sir John Soane's Museum. Double height volumes and lightwells bring light deep into the building, generating a continuous sense of depth and of spaces beyond spaces. Like Soane's Museum, the gallery celebrates the private collection without institutionalising it.

Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Joseph Asghar
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Joseph Asghar
Photograph by Johan Dehlin
Photograph by Joseph Asghar