Turner Prize nominee, Mark Titchner, will be the first artist to exhibit in The Gallery at Foyles, when the new flagship bookshop opens in London in June. Foyles has also announced today, Thursday 22 May 2014, that Futurecity has been appointed lead curator and gallery director for the 1,300 sqft exhibition space on the fifth level of the bookshop. Futurecity has advised on the strategy for the new store’s cultural hub since 2012.
Independent catering company, Leafi, which already operates in a number of arts and heritage sites including the Whitechapel Gallery and Turner Contemporary in Margate, has been awarded the contract to run The Café at Foyles on the same floor.
The new Foyles bookshop, at 107 Charing Cross Road, is just a step away from its current location and will open early in June. Formerly home to Central Saint Martins, the building has been re-designed by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands as ‘a bookshop for the 21st century’, spread across eight alternating foot-plates over four floors, with a full height central atrium. Both the gallery and the new Café at Foyles, also around 1,300 sqft in size, have been designed by lustedgreen, the interior specialists behind Foyles London Waterloo Station and Foyles Westfield Stratford City.
Titchner, an alumnus of Central Saint Martins, describes his art as ‘a dialogue about how you receive thought and ideas’. Renowned for incorporating found text into his artworks, it would be hard to find a better candidate for the first show in The Gallery at Foyles. As a student in the 1990s, Titchner’s painting studio used to exist on the same floor. He will now create a new site-specific artwork for Foyles which will directly relate to the rich cultural history of the building. The exhibition will open on Tuesday 24 June.
The ongoing Foyles Gallery programme, curated by Futurecity, will consist of a series of exhibitions for 2014–15, concentrating on high-profile, contemporary art exhibitions, talks and events, which will draw inspiration from Foyles extraordinary literary, musical and cultural offer.
Founded by Liam Farrell & Fiona Barber in 2006, Leafi sources seasonal ingredients from small, local suppliers who support their beliefs in fair trade, sustainability and the finest quality food. During the day, diners will be able to enjoy a coffee, light bite or full meal as light streams into the café through wall-to-wall windows looking out over the Soho rooftops.
The cultural hub is completed by a 200 seat Auditorium at Foyles, for author talks, lectures and musical performances, including the famous Ray’s Jazz at Foyles.
Sion Hamilton, Retail Operations Director at Foyles, comments:
“Bookshops, by nature, are temples of culture, and our popular music, theatre, art and cookery departments are some of the largest in London. The events spaces in our new flagship shop will bring our books to life, providing a place for our customers to meet, eat, converse, listen and contemplate.”
Mark Davy, Director of Futurecity, comments:
“This ‘gallery of the word’ will be the first of its kind in London, promising exciting conversations and collaborations between artists, writers and other creative disciplines inside Foyles flagship store.”
Fiona Barber, Director of Leafi, comments:
“The Café at Foyles is as much an institution as the bookshop itself and we look forward to continuing this wonderful tradition in the new shop.”
Smita Shukla, Associate Designer at lustedgreen comments:
“The brief for cafe design was very unique, that it should look un-designed, and capture the spirit of the existing cafe. We have kept the atmosphere relaxed, adding design elements that evoke the art of bookmaking, like the type-writer key signage, and the letter-press inspired servery counter.”
The first Gallery at Foyles was opened by founders of the business William and Gilbert Foyle in 1930. Since the old shop was refurbished, in 2004, the Gallery at Foyles has played host to a constant programme of exhibition and events in partnership with publishers, authors and illustrators.
The opening of the new shop will be celebrated by the Foyles Grand Opening Festival from Wednesday 11 June – Friday 4 July 2014. During this time Jarvis Cocker will open the new Music department on Thursday 12 June, Grayson Perry will open the new Art department on Monday 16 June and Yottham Ottolenghi will open Cookery on Thursday 19 June.
For more information please visit: www.foyles.co.uk