A pop-up gallery in Mayfair considers the real and the fake

PLP Architecture’s 60 Curzon in the heart of London is temporarily a gallery

pictures amongst scaffolding
From left to right: WangShui's Poiesis III (2023) and Albert Oehlen's Untitled (Baum 47) (2015)
(Image credit: Michal Brzezinski)

A new-build block of 32 apartments in Mayfair is launching with one penthouse open for viewings still in its raw, ‘core and shell’ state.

PLP Architecture’s 60 Curzon has interiors – including four show apartments – by Thierry Despont, the lauded French-born, NYC-based designer and architect who died in 2023. But property developer Valouran want to show prospective buyers not just the finished articles but the work-in-progress fifth-floor penthouse, complete with builders’ markings on the walls.

pictures amongst scaffolding

Christopher Wool's 'Rip Rig Panic' (2001)

(Image credit: Michal Brzezinski)

Instead of showing the penthouse as a bare shell, it has a short lifespan as an art gallery. “Launching the building to the world properly, we wanted to do some events there,” says Alex Michelin, co-founder of Valouran. “We think it’s a really cool space, more arresting than a flat that’s beautifully done.”

This exhibition space is in stark contrast to the “chichi Bond Street galleries” nearby, says curator Lawrence van Hagen of LVH Art. The 28 works in his show Double Take examine what’s real and what’s fake, with a nod to the rise of AI.

Van Hagen has mixed pieces by established artists, such as Andy Warhol’s 1978 Shadow, Larry Bell’s untitled (eclipse) from 1981, and Albert Oehlen’s untitled from 2015, with newer pieces by emerging talent, including Brice Gilbert’s 2024 Fournez, and Wangshui’s Poiesis III from 2023.

The exhibition’s design complements the rough, industrial feel of the duplex. Mimicking its existing scaffolding, George Lewin Studio has bolted the works to support structures made from slim aluminium poles, so that viewers get to see the back as well as the front of each piece.

pictures amongst scaffolding

From left to right: Brice Guilbert's 'Fournez' (2024), Wade Guyton's 'Untitled' (2019), Andy Warhol's 'Shadows' (1978)

(Image credit: Michal Brzezinski)

“A huge number of buyers have their own interior designers and taste,” adds Michelin. “It’s nice to launch some (apartments as) shell and core, as that allows the buyer to put their own stamp on it. They want to come in with their wives and create their dream home, rather than ripping out the marble,” that the developer’s interior designer has specified.

Meanwhile, for the building’s common parts and spa, along with the four show homes, Valouran briefed Despont “to recreate Mayfair glamour”. The aim is to appeal to “a more discerning buyer,” says Michelin. “The world has moved on from conspicuous wealth, now, it’s more about stealth wealth.” Hence Despont’s art deco-inspired design details, from all the bespoke furniture to the leather wall tiles in the gym.

Despont’s art deco-inspired projects included the Ritz Paris and homes for Bill Gates and Calvin Klein. 60 Curzon is his only residential scheme in London, and follows on from his 45 Park Lane Hotel, which completed in 2011.