House of Voltaire, London
A new fleeting fancy has popped up above Rupert Sanderson’s Bruton Place store. Styled as a cross between Keith Haring’s legendary Pop Shop and a fashion atelier, the House of Voltaire is a temporary boutique - the brainchild of not-for-profit arts body Studio Voltaire - for which over 60 artists were tasked to create artworks, furniture, fashion and more.
’We’re quite democratic about art,’ says Valeria Napoleone, Studio Voltaire’s chairwoman and patron, and one of London’s big collectors. ’We wanted to take artists away from their comfort zones and give them the opportunity to create everyday objects and homewares.’
Sculptor Nicole Wermers has designed a table, topped with one of her collages, while artist Linder has teamed up with fashion designer Richard Nicoll to produce a scarf. There are also contributions from the likes of Phyllida Barlow, Wolfgang Tillmans, Pablo Bronstein, Yinka Shonibare and Cerith Wyn Evans.
While art may be the unifying theme, House of Voltaire is a long way from the conventional, hushed gallery. Open until 4th December, it is staffed by a cast of the artists themselves and even Napoleone will be taking on a few shifts. The prices are equally as democratic, spanning from £10 to £10,000. The space itself, donated by Sanderson, has been reworked by 6a Architects - the team behind the South London Gallery’s recent extension - with dark walls and panelling brimming with artworks.
All proceeds will support Studio Voltaire’s energetic education, studio and exhibition programme, dedicated to bolstering artists and creating a space for experimentation and reflection. Coming soon are shows by emerging artists, Shahryar Nashat and Laura Aldridge. The organisation receives no government subsidy, which makes House of Voltaire an essential fundraising scheme - as well as a fine place to shop.