The Stanley Picker Gallery has reopened after refurbishments to celebrate its 15th birthday and pay tribute to arts patron Stanley Picker on the 30th anniversary of his death.
Funded by Kingston University and the Stanley Picker Trust, the refurbishments have significantly changed the venue, with a new Lobby area and Riverside Terrace providing visitors with space to meet, relax and learn more about our programme of exhibitions, projects and events.
As an integral part of the refurbishment project, three new commissions by artists, designers and students at the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, have been specially created for the venue, each directly inspired by the stunning Picker House on nearby Kingston Hill, originally designed in 1968 by architect Kenneth Wood for Stanley Picker to live amongst his exquisite collection of art and design objects.
Designers Jon Harrison and Jochem Faudet both teach Product Design at the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture and work together in commercial practice outside Kingston University as Faudet-Harrison. Referencing the immaculate period detailing and design collection at the Picker House, their specially commissioned work for the Gallery Lobby area includes a contemporary dado-rail with bespoke fittings they call ‘parasites’ that Gallery staff and visitors can quickly adapt to suit their need. Resourcefully upgrading existing Gallery furniture and sourcing vintage pieces such as Frederick Scott’s Supporto Chair (c.1976), the duo have also created a suite of versatile yet elegant new furniture in powder-coated metal and laminated wood, including a reception desk, a split-circular table, and a stacking-stool named Stanley in tribute to the Gallery’s very own patron. The Lobby area is open to everyone and is already being used by our general visitors, staff and students to hold a variety of public events and social gatherings.
Suspended in a previously unoccupied void above the Gallery reception, like a deliberately poised remnant from the venue refurbishments, Vertical Realism Lamps x 5 (Stanley Picker Gallery) (2012) is a permanent commission by Cullinan Richards, the artist-duo who together run the MA Fine Art programme here at Kingston University’s Faculty of Art Design & Architecture. The sculpture’s apparently casual arrangement of hanging fluorescent bulbs and paint-dipped wooden off-cuts from the artists’ improvisational studio practice is highly reminiscent of the ornamentally exposed electric cables, bulbs and fittings on the chandelier by avant-garde Italian lighting designer Gino Sarfatti (1912-1984) that can be seen positioned central to the main living area at the Picker House on Kingston Hill.
In response to a brief to allow access to the Gallery’s Riverside Terrace via secure routes, Postgraduate Architecture Live Project students led by architect Andrew Budd have created a structure of sustainable Portuguese oak cork-block and mild sheet-steel. The project innovatively exploits two highly contrasting materials, combining the organic qualities of the sensual yet resilient cork with the hard linearity of the plate metal, both of which, in their own way over time, will subtly respond to the elements; the structure providing a gently evolving haven that effectively highlights the venue’s unique location on a small island in the Hogsmill River.