New Tate director Gregor Muir:uncovering London's design secrets and hidden shops

The Tate's new director of collection, Gregor Muir, reveals his favourite designers, secret shops and the kind of London property that makes him "giddy"...

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Gregor Muir, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, has just been named as Tate’s new director of collection, international art. 

A previous director of Hauser & Wirth gallery, he was curator of contemporary art at Tate from 2001-2004, co-curating the  In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida exhibition with artists Damien Hirst, Angus Fairhurst and Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain.

His 2009 memoir Lucky Kunst recalls his experiences in the Young British Art scene and Nineties London.

Next month the ICA is co-curating Art Night, a 24-hour programme of architecture, art, dance, design and music at sites around the city.

Dream home: Chandos House, a Robert Adam townhouse off Oxford Street (Alamy)

Where I live: I live in Fitzrovia, in a converted hospital right by Marylebone Road. It’s a grand old Edwardian building that got divvied up into flats. I love being able to walk to work but I don’t live in grandeur.

I have a two-year-old daughter living in a tiny flat, so it’s a tip. I’m a huge book collector, so if it’s not children’s toys, it’s art books.

Favourite designers: I really enjoy knowing an architect called David Kohn [his practice designed The White Building arts venue in Hackney Wick, working with Exploration Architecture].

I’m fascinated by the unusual Peter Salter homes in Pottery Lane, Notting Hill, and the work 6a Architects have been doing with a number of galleries around London including Raven Row.

David Gill [contemporary art and design gallery] in King Street, SW1, has an amazing eye for design.

Best homeware shop: Gallery Eclectic, the Japanese ceramics store in Marylebone High Street — I always come away having learned something. I love Sibling which does fantastic woolly jumpers.

And I’m meeting Kim Jones this week — his recent work with The House of Beauty and Culture collective totally fascinates me, we are bringing out a book on their work. I love the way shoemakers, knitwear designers, jewellers and furniture designers are using this old house in Dalston as a shop and studio spaces.

Shinobu Hashimoto's work at Gallery Eclectic Japanese ceramics store in Marylebone High Street

Favourite possession: My Zhang Enli tree print. I was lucky enough to buy two paintings by this then-unknown Chinese artist and they are in my front room.

Best museum: The Wallace Collection always moves me. The new Tate Modern extension, and the spaces, are extraordinary.

Secret shop: "find the unfindable" at the Maghreb Bookshop in Burton Street, WC1 (Alamy)

Secret shop: The Maghreb Bookshop in Burton Street, WC1, stocks books on the Middle East, Islam and Africa, and their slogan is, “Here you can find the unfindable”.

Best market: East Street Market in Walworth Road. I grew up there so I’ve got to give it a shout-out.

Dream property: I’d love a Robert Adam house. They make me giddy, especially Chandos House, a neoclassical townhouse off Oxford Street. If you walk between Portland Place and Marylebone High Street, you’ll find some of the best houses in London, like the RIBA building and the amazing Royal College of Physicians, overlooking Regent’s Park and designed by Denys Lasdun.

Art Night London takes place on Saturday July 2. Visit


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