Oxford Street is one of London’s most famous shopping destinations, but it could also be a new mecca for modern art – if Moco Museum has its way.
According to the Evening Standard, the major art museum is eying up a vast 1920s building opposite Marble Arch as the potential site for its third European gallery. Moco specialises in modern and contemporary artworks, showcasing works by the likes of Banksy, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.
Oxford Street has struggled with vacant stores in recent years. Topshop’s colossal 100,000 sq ft Oxford Circus flagship store closed in 2021 following the implosion of the Arcadia Group – the space will reopen to the public this autumn as IKEA Oxford Street – and the pandemic shuttered many retailers. Another significant departure was the House of Fraser in January 2022, after 100 years at its Oxford Street site.
Still, research from property specialist BNP Paribas Real Estate published in January 2021 revealed over 72,000 pedestrians visit Oxford Street on a typical day – a figure that’s likely to have swelled significantly as commuters and tourists return to their pre-pandemic habits.
Planning permission would need to be granted to transform the 1920s jewel at 1-4 Marble Arch and 1 Great Cumberland Place for its new role as an art gallery. However, Moco argues the opening would ‘complement’ the popular Frameless Immersive Art experience at nearby 6 Marble Arch, plus the Serpentine Galleries, Wallace Collection and Photographer’s Gallery. In 2020, work began redeveloping the building, which is located at the top of Oxford Street, as offices and stores.