PUBLIC BUILDING: MATT’S GALLERY, LONDON

PROJECTS


Design note


Matt’s Gallery is located on the ground floor of 44 Copperfield Road, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, London. The building is owned by Acme, a London-based charity, formed by Jonathan Harvey OBE and David Panton OBE in 1972, which supports the development of fine art practice by providing artists with affordable studio and living space. Acme provides 552 studio units, runs work/live and studio residency schemes and manages an international residencies programme for visiting artists. Acme is recognised as the leading studio development organisation in England and has helped more than 5,000 artists with this fundamental means of support

Matt’s Gallery was originally formed by Robin Klassnik OBE in 1979 at his Martello Street studio before moving to the Copperfield Road site in 1993. The intention of Matt’s Gallery is to allow artists the time and space to develop new ideas and, potentially, new ways of working, by offering the opportunity to explore and develop their practice. The gallery works with and representing artists from early in their career, nurturing and developing their ideas and works over many years and assisting them to extraordinary achievements.

In July 2014 Craig Barnes was invited by Robin Klassnik to include the Futuro as part of an exhibition at the gallery entitled REVOLVER which will comprise of a series of group exhibitions to investigate the manifestation of knowledge in relation to artists who work with or reference text and publishing. Barnes’ art project Centre for Remote Possibilities sees the Futuro acting as a venue for talks, discussions, lectures, exhibitions and screenings and is an extension to some of his earlier work of placing small loosely spherical objects atop rectilinear ones which he almost inadvertently makes whilst procrastinating in his studio and harks back to an near-neolithic primitive urge to put one thing on top of another as some evolutionary step forward.

The proposal initially centred around erecting the Futuro in Mile End park which is opposite the gallery, however thoughts soon turned to landing the Futuro on the roof of the gallery and we were appointed to assist Craig with the project management process. 

The initial process involved assessing the practical complexities of lifting a six tonne prefabricated building on top of a roof in central London, and the how the structure could be placed to prevent damage to the existing building. Working closely with Craig, Matt’s Gallery, Acme and Momentum Structural Engineers we developed an arrangement of spreader beams which would have feet placed directly over the structural columns of the building below, and hence distribute the load evenly through the building. During this process we consulted with Tower Hamlets and negotiated a planning application which was finally granted approval two days before the road closure was due to take place! We also provided Building Regulation approval and consultation with London Fire Authority and the various departments within Tower Hamlets to negotiate the road closure. The Futuro finally arrived on site at 07:30 on 6th October 2104 and we provided the project management services on site until it was finally completed six days later, on the eve that the exhibition opened to the public.

MATT'S GALLERY