“I think it’s fair to say this is unique in the world,” suggests Paul White, the founding director of the architectural firm Buckley Gray Yeoman (B.G.Y.). He is speaking of Cromwell Place, the new arts hub in West London, which he and B.G.Y. have led through a meticulous four-year, $26-million redesign. A working and exhibition space for galleries, dealers, collectors, and art professionals, it’s a taste of the future, opening on October 10.
As to why Cromwell Place took so long to develop, there are three answers to that question. First, the sheer scale and scope of the project: B.G.Y. was working with five interconnected Georgian buildings, Numbers 1 to 5, and the addition of a double basement added further complication. Second, the complexity that comes with a listed property, deemed of cultural importance by the British government: Number 4 at Cromwell Place, for instance, was once the residence of painter Sir John Lavery, who used his studio at Number 5 to host notable guests that included Winston Churchill, Auguste Rodin, W. B. Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. Third: the coronavirus.