Creating a dialogue
Grosvenor, in partnership with Stow and art consultancy firm Art Acumen, are bringing fresh, thought-provoking artwork to the estate. We learn about their latest programme at 33 Davies Street, Mayfair
Lucy Unwin is the artist of the moment at 33 Davies Street. Her piece, Merriment, sits in a space at the foot of the building’s staircase, visible to anyone who enters the lobby as well as passers by on the street outside. Merriment is a galvanised steel sculpture of three people holding hands in a circle. It’s jovial, interesting and has a sense of movement to it, despite the hard material it’s made from.
It’s been put there by Lucy and Art Acumen’s Catherine Thomas, who has been working in partnership with Grosvenor for around a decade. “Art Acumen is about offering bespoke projects to a wide range of individual clients, whether that’s a private individual, a developer or corporate occupier or a public space; each one will have different requirements. Art Acumen aims to align a piece of art to a client’s values,” Catherine explains.
The art on display is there to engage people and inspire them to communicate and take part in debate, as Catherine elaborates: “Art is an emotive subject. Art Acumen is driven to create spaces, whether they’re work environments or public spaces, that inspire and engage with people in a meaningful way.”
However, it’s not just a piece of art displayed forever and eternity; what’s happening at 33 Davies Street is a programme designed to create communication in the immediate environment. This is all part of Grosvenor’s keen commitment to encouraging a wide variety of cultural activity in Mayfair. “From now on, each company in the building will get to choose what goes on display for six months at a time,” Catherine says. “Together with Grosvenor and Stow, we’ve established an art programme that will try to engage a decision-making process in a multi-tenanted building. It has allowed an opportunity for companies in this building to communicate with each other.”
This rotating programme allows them to showcase a variety of artwork, to ensure the display retains interest. “If we always featured a stone sculpture, it would be noticed less,” Catherine explains. “I think the pieces stand out more if they are different and display different techniques and artistic language.”
Merriment is certainly an interesting piece, and was even catching the eyes of passers-by while it was being installed. “When we were setting up, four or five different people came over within the space of an hour to ask about the piece,” remembers Lucy. Perhaps it’s because the piece holds such a universal appeal. “The sculpture shows a group of people holding hands in a circle,” she explains. “Holding hands is such a basic human action. When you meet someone new you shake their hand and holding hands can be an intimate gesture so I think it works really well in a sculpture.”