Where art meets design: new gallery Studio Leigh opens up in Shoreditch

Studio Leigh, a new London-based ‘commissioning and exhibiting platform’, opens in Shoreditch 

Studio Leigh, a new London-based ‘commissioning and exhibiting platform.
Studio Leigh, a new London-based ‘commissioning and exhibiting platform’, has recently launched in Shoreditch. Pictured: I’m not crying because it hurts. I’m crying because I love you, by Elias Hansen and Blake Hudson, 2015
(Image credit: Elias Hansen and Blake Hudson)

Somebody smart, we forget who, recently said that the difference between art and design is that art is allowed to be useless. Design, of course, is not. So is art determined on being useful design by definition?

These questions, and others, are being addressed by Studio Leigh (opens in new tab), a new London-based ‘commissioning and exhibiting platform’ – somewhere between an art and design gallery – that has asked 28 emerging artists to come up with something useful; and when and where possible, produced with the help of British craft workers, including glassblowers, seamstresses, wood and metal workers, and foundries.

The project has been developed by Tayah Leigh Barrs, who has a worked for Mario Testino and art directed for fashion brands and magazines but has a background in design. (Leigh Barrs has chosen her middle name for the gallery because she wants to explore the 'middle ground between pragmatic and conceptual purpose'.) The results are now on display at Studio Leigh’s permanent space, a 19th century former varnishing workshop in Shoreditch.

Works in its opening salvo include: Nicholas Hatfull’s Enzo Mari-inspired giant puzzle; Aaron Angell’s rowing boat-cum-cat tomb; Nicolas Deshayes’ body organ-ish radiators; and Florence Peake’s mirrored massage-ball wall. And if an experiment in design-meets-art-meets-craft feels a little past its sell by date, there is genuine wit and invention here (and occasionally even beauty). Some of the pieces have tie-in films and animations and, in a couple of cases, scents. There is a concept and narrative, and a definite seriousness and respect for the central premise – conceptual art’s new-found curiosity about craft. It’s enlightening to see art heading in that direction and meeting design heading the same way from the other side, as it were. If that wasn't enough, Leigh Barrs is planning to show new works of a similar intent every six weeks.

Stool Like a Bed at design gallery.

Placed somewhere between an art and design gallery, the Studio has asked 28 emerging artists to come up with something useful – when and where possible produced with the help of British craft workers. Pictured: Tête-à–tête, by Joseph Frazer, 2015

(Image credit: press)

Vase in new gallery Studio.

The project has been developed by Tayah Leigh Barrs, who has worked for Mario Testino and art directed for fashion brands and magazines but has a background in design. Pictured: Body Double-Double Bodies, by Harry Burden, 2015

(Image credit: Harry Burden)

Underfoot

Some of the pieces have tie-in films and animations and, in a couple of cases, scents. Pictured: Underfoot, by Nicholas Hatfull, 2015

(Image credit: Nicholas Hatfull)

Occasional Lamp

Occasional Lamp, by Mark Essen, 2015

(Image credit: Mark Essen)

Bird cage

Birdcage, by Ariane Schick, 2015

(Image credit: Ariane Schick)

Skin Press Body

Skin Press Body On, by Florence Peake, 2015

(Image credit: Florence Peake)

Chair and stool at Art gallary.

42nd and 9th, by Marianne Spurr and France-Lise McGurn, 2015

(Image credit: Marianne Spurr and France-Lise McGurn)

Planchette at Gallary

Planchette, by Aaron Angell, 2015

(Image credit: Aaron Angell)

Occasional Lamp

Occasional Lamp, by Mark Essen, 2015

(Image credit: Mark Essen)

New gallery Studio Leigh opens up in Shoreditch

Leigh Barrs is planning to show new works of a similar intent every six weeks. Pictured: A Little More Room, by Matt Ager, 2015

(Image credit: Matt Ager)

Designer vase at gallary

Studios Leigh’s inaugural exhibition runs until 6 November. Pictured here: Body Double-Double Bodies, by Harry Burden, 2015

(Image credit: Harry Burden)

INFORMATION

Studio Leigh (opens in new tab)’s inaugural exhibition runs until 6 November

ADDRESS

Studio Leigh
4 Garden Walk
London, EC2A 3EQ

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