Perfect pop-up: Plinth opens a store-cum-gallery in Bloomsbury
Open for business until 19 March, Plinth is an innovative new retail-cum-gallery space located in Bloomsbury.
Set within the elegant confines of 44 Great Russell Street – a listed 18th century Georgian building opposite the British Museum – the initiative was conceived by co-founders Chloe Grimshaw and Paul Franklin as a means of presenting a carefully curated selection of design, homeware, original work and new editions by a range of artists and makers.
Plinth’s offering sees affordable products juxtaposed with design classics and work by celebrated artists, many of which are designed for a domestic setting; Yinka Shonibare’s intricately illustrated crockery, Julian Opie’s ’Sheep’ blanket and a candle – ’redolent of libraries and woodsmoke’ – by Perfumer H’s Lyn Harris sit alongside silk scarves by the lauded Chinese abstract artist Ding Yi and a striking monochromatic umbrella by art-focussed fashion design Duro Olowu.
Those products represent a neat marrying of form and function, but more abstract, decorative and conceptual limited edition pieces are also in abundance; from Richard Wilson’s ceramic ’Still Life Jug’, Liliane Lijn’s technicolour polyester resin ’Liquid Koan’ and a weighty, 14cm high brass tooth by David Shrigley (the work, he states, ’could be used for cracking nuts’ with).
If the superlative selection of wares wasn’t enough, Grimshaw and Franklin have also painstakingly filled the space with candles, flowers – supplied by F.Bombe – and vintage furniture by the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto.
The pop-up’s gallery – a double height space in the property’s courtyard – will host talks by artists and curators such as Wilson, Richard Deacon, Nicholas Grimshaw and Dr Gilda Williams (which will be open to the public and subsequently available to view online), as well as workshops with makers such as Nathalie de Leval and site-specific works by contemporary artists including Susan Collis – who will be in residence on the third floor in a collaboration between Plinth and Birmingham’s Ikon gallery – and Jacques Nimki, who will install ’invisible’ botanical vinyl designs across the space’s ceilings and walls.
’Plinth is not only about providing a new platform for unique artist-designed products and limited editions,’ say the founders of the initiave. ’It’s a project centered on a spirit of openness, and creating a means by which a wider audience can access and own contemporary art.’