ArtReview is an international contemporary art magazine based in London, founded in 1948. Its sister publication, ArtReview Asia, was launched in 2013. Its London HQ is housed over three floors of a Victorian warehouse in Clerkenwell. In the basement, the ArtReview Bar hosts talks, screenings, performances and other events.
Our design helps to make more sense of the existing space by giving greater legibility to different areas, rationalising storage, and allowing more flexibility of use over time while also transforming its character.
Over the years, the space had accumulated layers of fit out that our architectural archeology explored, including a walled up window facing out into a lightwell. We peeled back these layers to make a large circular hole to bring more daylight into the space. This is seen through translucent corrugated fiberglass sheets that diffuse the light, revealing the shadow of the exposed stud walling, the window, then the outline of an air handling unit beyond. The sheets can also be backlit, and the fluctuations of light from day to night, from illuminated or not create changes in depth and transparency as well as atmosphere.
Space is divided by a large scale free standing element that acts as a screening device. Its simple white powder coated frame is infilled with materials including combinations of coloured perspex, perforated steel panels, plywood and galvanized steel sheet that vary its transparency. It provides storage space to one side and display shelving to the other more public side.
The ground floor also features a library space for the magazine’s archive behind a floor to ceiling sliding wall.
Other elements of custom furniture include a large collective worktable in white powder coated steel frame with a plywood top. A variation of this was used to make a trestle table for the basement that could be a boardroom table by day, then be packed away to clear the space for events. Other works to the bar provide neat storage solutions housing chairs mixing desks and other event equipment.
The lobby features reworked versions of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chairs restrung with coloured webbing strips and recycled foam blocks, and a table that layers dichroic glass with honeycomb resin-impregnated paper panels. These elements recall the ubiquitous use of modernist furniture in lobbies of city offices.