54 JERMYN STREET, Mayfair, London - NICK VEASEY SITE SPECIFIC COMMISSION
MAUGER became involved in this commission in May 2016, when Ian McArdle Architects contacted the gallery for information and construction possibilities on artworks by artist Nick Veasey, who they were interested in putting forward for consideration to construct a site specific artwork. This artwork was to be created for the foyer of Great Portland Estates’ new development at 54 Jermyn Street.
Great Portland Estates (GPE) is based in London. The largest group of their London properties is in the Marylebone district of central London just to the north of Oxford Street, in and around Great Portland Street. The Company also owns properties in the West End such as the West side of Hanover Square and in the City of London such as the Bloomberg Headquarters. At 31 March 2015 Great Portland Estate's property portfolio was valued at circa £2.3 billion
Jermyn Street has always been an address for the upper echelons of society. Built in the 1680s near St James’s Palace, it became famous for its superior shirts for courtiers. The centuries-old shirtmakers still cater to the elite, alongside expert shoemakers and tailors, food and wine emporia, world class restaurants, hotels and art dealers.
54 Jermyn Street was undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment by Great Portland Estates plc with a completion date of 2016. The building comprises circa 25,000 sq ft and is arranged over the ground and eight upper floors. Internally there is a new contemporary entrance hall, (now showcasing bespoke artwork by Nick Veasey), interconnecting glass walkways, private terraces and views over St James’s and Westminster.
To create a bespoke and unique x ray artwork of a safe door. The safe door to be x rayed by artist Nick Veasey and prepared for production as a large tension fabric lightbox. The Lightbox to be installed in 5456 Jermyn Street London.
Initially it had been thought that a collection of Nick Veasey’s current x ray works installed over the rear wall of reception would provide the best option but Peter Keel, Asset Manager of GPE had the concept of commissioning Nick to make a bespoke x ray of the building’s safe/vault door, the door and vault being an intrinsic part of the building’s history, having stored Faberge eggs and jewellery amongst many other valuables.
The Role of the Artist
a) the research & design development phase
During this period Nick Veasey and MAUGER met with GPE to visit the site and view the installed original vault door in situ. Photographs of the inner mechanisms were taken. The artist ascertained that x raying the door whilst in situ would be impossible for safety and practical reasons, so arrangements were made for the door to be removed and partially deconstructed in order to send all parts to Nick Veasey’s x ray studio.
The vault door working mechanisms were x rayed by Nick, and images taken to the studio for post production. A first draft of the image was emailed to GPE for approval and comments..
Individual members of GPE made some suggestions to the artist for graphical inclusion/exclusion to be made during this stage. After these suggestions were incorporated into the final design, the artist’s final draft was sent to all working parties at GPE for approval.
b) finalising design, fabrication and production
Following approval by GPE, the artist made recommendations regarding the medium used to best portray the x ray. Following discussions with the client, it was decided that the most effective solution was to print the final image on a large tension fabric lightbox. On approval of this method of display, he initiated the production of the final artwork, liaising with the building’s construction department at all stages, ensuring that the artwork was being constructed correctly to the appropriate dimensions for installation into the pre-made wall recess.
c) installation and completion
Following production, the artwork was delivered to 54 Jermyn Street and installed. The work was completed within budget and on time.