Artists are being invited to open workshops, studios and galleries in new housing schemes — a happy reversal of the saga when creatives are forced out of a district as developers move in.
The idea is seen as a solution of mutual benefit — with creatives attracting visitors and bringing a youthful vibe to a district, which in turn draws in home buyers.
Councils and communities are behind this move to encourage art-based businesses into regeneration zones, helping to build new neighbourhoods and often creating lasting relationships between developers, students and colleges.
Greenwich Peninsula will have 30,000 residents when complete and developer Knight Dragon hopes this new swathe of London will become a “creative quarter” with galleries, public art and community events.
Ravensbourne College opened its campus there in 2010 and students and teachers regularly exhibit work in the free and permanent NOW Gallery, which is showing Where Pioneers Live, a specially commissioned abstract interpretation of the peninsula’s transformation, until May 16.
Meanwhile, in Tunnel Avenue, Greenwich Peninsula, Lazarides Editions produces handcrafted limited editions of the work of innovative young artists, using traditional and digital printing techniques.
More space is being set aside for use by creative companies, start-up businesses and artisan producers. Richard Margree, Knight Dragon chief executive, has responsibility for choosing artistic ventures which he says are vital when creating a distinctive community.
Developers hope that people who come to a district to see art, visiting local bars and restaurants in the process, will also be interested in their homes for sale.
Sculptor Alex Chinneck’s installation A Bullet From a Shooting Star — an illuminated lattice shaped like an inverted electricity pylon — was commissioned by the London Design Festival and Knight Dragon at Greenwich Peninsula last year. This commercially attractive, 115ft-tall work generated crowds.
Knight Dragon also commissioned British artist Morag Myerscough to enliven the peninsula skyline as development progresses, and currently her Colourblock Cranes add splashes of bright hue to the landscape.
The latest phase of new homes on the peninsula is at Upper Riverside with one-bedroom apartments from £450,000. Call 020 3713 6153.
A Shoreditch building acquired by Londonewcastle is home to Art Rabbit, a venue for emerging art that has hosted 500 shows. The developer says it gives access to affordable art and helps it to judge what customers want.
At 62-68 Rosebery Avenue in Clerkenwell, video installation artist Marco Brambilla’s work helped to sell all units to Londonewcastle’s target — creatives living around Exmouth Market.
The developer’s flats and penthouses at Queen’s Park Place, NW6, start at £565,000. Call Aston Chase on 020 7724 4724.
In Hampstead, new development Kidderpore Green includes a new base for Hampstead School of Art, built by Barratt London as part of planning requirements. Principal Isabel H Langtry says the school’s relationship with the developer is so sound that a studio will be named for Barratt.
The school offers vital opportunities to artists seeking affordable workspace, and artists Frank Bowling and Alan Gouk are new patrons, the first since Henry Moore.
At Kidderpore Green, 128 new and refurbished homes start from £1.35 million. Call 0844 811 4321.
Henry Moore’s sculpture Locking Piece stands in Riverside Walk Gardens near Vauxhall Bridge and now Ronson Capital Partners has commissioned works by Peter Randall-Page and Pablo Reinoso for its neighbouring homes scheme at Riverwalk.
Artsource’s Patrick Morey-Burrows helps developers choose art, and selected Reinoso. “Westminster wanted artwork to include a play element for children. You can imagine how that goes down with most artists, but Pablo sweetly incorporated this into his Children Only Bench.”
Riverwalk apartments start from £1.25 million. Call Savills on 020 7828 3007.
Woodberry Down, one of Hackney’s biggest new homes developments, hosts Exhibition in the Sky in May, showcasing work from local gallery, Unit G. Exhibitions are regularly held in the marketing suite, community centre and wetland centre. A new Heal’s-designed show flat has just opened with prices from £550,000. Call 020 8985 9918.
The River Medway isn’t known for its art scene but residents at Victory Pier, Peninsula Quay, in Kent have their own floating art gallery — LV21, a 40-metre steel-hulled lightship moored opposite. Prices from £270,000. Call Berkeley (01634 776773).
St George and Bow Arts Trust are bringing 90 affordable artist studios to Pennington Street Warehouse in Wapping. The studios are the first use of the warehouse in over 200 years. It’s all part of the St George London Dock masterplan, a mixed-use scheme delivering 1,800 homes and 200,000sq ft of commercial space. Homes in the latest phase, Clipper Wharf, start from £869,950. Call 020 7971 7880.