Ben Hunter mounts exhibitions of contemporary and 20th century art, also working privately with collectors and institutions.
Having outgrown their previous space, we were asked to remodel rooms within a Victorian building in St James’s, London, to provide a new public exhibition space and private viewing room with the ability to show a rotating selection of different works.
Most recently used as offices, the rooms were carefully stripped back to remove unwanted accretions. Original plaster features were protected in-situ before installing new free-standing, and easily repairable, wall and ceiling linings, to allow for regularly changing exhibitions in various different media.
The main gallery space is simply detailed with minimal articulation of the junctions between surfaces. In the viewing room the existing plaster door and window surrounds have been left exposed, and a flush skirting and ‘picture rail’ incorporated into the new wall linings; giving a more domestic feel to the room.
The existing timber floors were left as found - a counterpoint to the new painted wall and ceiling linings. A woven sisal and linen rug is placed over the floorboards in the client area.
Bespoke track-mounted lighting provides even illumination to the wall surfaces, and retractable blinds diffuse daylight. The existing windows were refurbished to allow the new spaces to be naturally ventilated.
We were also commissioned to design tables for the gallery and viewing room, and fitted desks and shelving for the second floor office. The gallery table is made in Douglas fir with turned ash legs, and a lightly oiled finish. The viewing room tables are also made in Douglas fir boards, and a consistent cross-section is used to form both the table surfaces and supporting frames. Ash dowels are used as connecting ties where additional strength is required.
A further phase, completed in May 2022, added a new gallery space.
The portraits are by Sarah Ball and were installed for the Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in October 2020. The oil and pencil drawing is by Barbara Hepworth; the resin casting by Rachel Whiteread; the painting by Nicole Coson - all from an exhibition in May 2022 (photos: Damien Griffiths).