Brutalist landmark 180 The Strand opens its doors in London tomorrow, reimagined as a hub for art, design, music, food and broadcasting.
‘The Store, 180 The Strand’ turns the Sir Frederick Gibberd-designed building into a new kind of creative space. Launching with the Hayward Gallery’s first offsite show The Infinite Mix, it’s a place to experience audio-visual art installations, relax over lunch, read magazines and (soon) use one of the many broadcasting studios.
‘It’s a fusion of many things in one incredible building,’ says Alex Eagle, creative director of The Store, which debuted at Soho House Berlin. ‘We believe the future of space is about creating an experience – one that brings together art, broadcasting and a sense of community.’
Empty volumes within the concrete and glass building are being brought to life by 10 immersive installations from artists including Jeremy Deller, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Rachel Rose.
‘Art activates the space – and the space activates the art,’ says Eagle.
A ghostly hologram of Gonzalez-Foerster dressed as the late opera singer Maria Callas and lip-syncing one of her performances draws you into a dark corner of the building.
‘Dominique fell in love with this derelict corridor after exploring all of the building’s spaces,’ says Hayward Gallery director, Ralph Rugoff. ‘It was the perfect place for a ghost to appear.’
Meanwhile, Cyprien Gaillard takes over the underbelly of 180 The Strand with ‘Nightlife’ – a 3D visual feast, featuring dancing trees and fireworks above the Nazi-built Olympic stadium in Berlin.
‘Cyprien is really interested in entropy and how things decay so his choice of the underground car park was fitting,’ adds Rugoff. ‘When we first saw it, the space had streams of water running from the ceiling, so it felt quite post apocalyptic.’
The Infinite Mix – curated in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory – leads you on a journey through the partially-transformed building. Before you enter each installation’s darkened chamber, you’ll be lured there by its soundtrack, down graffiti-lined stairs and across glass bridges.
‘Artworks are so sensitive to their surroundings and all of these spaces bring an extra dimension to the work,’ explains Rugoff. ‘And the work has an incredible effect on the space, because suddenly you feel you’re in a new kind of 21st-century museum that doesn’t have the formality of a conventional gallery. In a way, it’s more interesting because of that.’
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