People, Places, Things
Sam Jacob Studio for architecture and design
is a collaborative practice that makes
buildings, places, strategies and objects.

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DKUK Queens Road

DKUK – the pioneering gallery, hair salon and artist training academy – has opened a new space to pursue its agenda of exhibiting contemporary art to different audiences. Designed by Sam Jacob Studio, the expanded space on Queens Road Peckham will enable DKUK to take a more ambitious and experimental approach to programming than ever before. Their new home features the traditional elements used to shape a salon but used in unexpected ways. Hair is cut in front of art, mirrors are used to alter perceptions of space and light, with two ‘social sculptures’ that organise the space.

DKUK ‘s part-commercial / part-cultural hybrid has been by translated Sam Jacob Studio into a new multifunctional environment that offers an alternative to traditional art spaces.

Reflecting DKUK’s ethos, gallery, salon and work spaces are all visible, so visitors experience the economic model where commercial activity supports culture and education. 

Expressing this attitude is an inhabitable multi-functioning structure – a large, centrally-positioned yellow steel frame. It’s armature contains archive, display, a space for artists to work, and salon equipment with translucent panels defining spaces in an ambiguous way while also creating connections between them through reflections and colour-filtered views.

The frame also contains a two-way mirrored display cabinet which becomes reflective at the flick of a switch. The dual function of the vitrine and mirror embodies DKUK’s double experience of salon and gallery and dramatises the big reveal after its key experience of ‘haircuts in front of art’.

A sculptural object acts as reception desk and window display giving a strong visual presence to the shopfront. Its form is generated by its use and role with shelves and desk, each painted to form a dark to light greyscale spectrum, supported on yellow geometric spacers. The whole structure is arranged as a stack like the hair product they display to make a

The basement level will function as an onsite event and performance space, as well as an academy offering hairdressing training to young artists as a way to financially support their practice – both of which will provide new ways for engagement and participation amongst new and existing audiences.

Sam Jacob said: “Over the last few years we’ve worked closely with DKUK developing designs that reflect their unique approach. The new design combines cultural space with social enterprise to support new approaches to how art and life can be brought together productively, making a new type of gallery space and new ways of showing art. Our design acts like a framework that enables all kinds of exciting possibilities to occur at their intersection”

Daniel Kelly Said: “This new space marks a major milestone in the development of DKUK. The new position on Queens Road will offer more chance encounters for the general public to engage with contemporary art, as well as help the business to grow and develop. The additional room for the academy programme will help us to empower burgeoning creativity within London and hopefully develop a network of self-sufficient artists.”