On Friday afternoon, Matthew’s studio had a small tour of Vauxhall, starting with lunch at the Bonnington Café on Bonnington Square. The square, built in the 1870s to house railway workers, became a squat in the 1980s when the buildings were under threat of demolition. The squatting community established the volunteer-run vegetarian café on the square along with a community garden, adding lots of lovely lush planting around the perimeter. The squatters formed a housing co-operative, and LB Lambeth allowed them to purchase the houses in the late 90s.
After a walk around the square, we popped briefly into the Cabinet Gallery which opened late last year. It’s a 12-sided structure designed by Trevor Horne Architects, with the brick, window and other details being designed by artists who exhibit there. Next, a quick march in the rain to the 2016 Stirling Prize winning Newport Street Gallery.
Designed by architects Caruso St John for Damien Hirst to exhibit his personal art collection, the 37,000 sq ft gallery space was created by extending and converting listed Victorian warehouses located next to the railway tracks in Vauxhall. There are some nice subtle details like the ‘falling domino effect’ pitched rooves. The exhibition was Ashley Bickerton’s ‘Ornamental Hysteria’, a vivid and varied collection of Bickerton’s work spanning three decades of his career, though received mixed reviews from our studio.
A visit to Damien Hirst’s gallery wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Pharmacy 2 for a cocktail and to be overwhelmed with Hirst’s love of pills, death and 90s vibes.
Those of us in need of yet more visual stimulation then headed over to the V&A to check out the new extension by Amanda Levete Achitects, and the plywood exhibition which included the classic Eames chair among many other lovely bendy bits of wood, followed by a refreshing dip in the central courtyard pool for the “braver” ones among us.