How to cultivate a cultural emporium in West London
Inside a 1903 Grade II-listed building, Carpenters Workshop Gallery is engaging the local community
Nowadays, in many cultural spaces in London, there’s not just one thing on offer anymore. Head to any museum, gallery or theatre for a show and you’ll no doubt get a fuller experience – from food to shopping. As of spring this year, Carpenters Workshop Gallery took to broadening their remit of being just a ‘gallery’ by opening Ladbroke Hall in Notting Hill – a destination in London that celebrates cultural freedom. “It departs from the traditional gallery model of the austere white space,” says Loïc Le Gaillard, co-founder of Carpenters Workshop Gallery alongside Julien Lombrail. Ladbroke Hall is a 1903 Grade II-listed building, and is different from the gallery’s spaces in Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Ladbroke Hall is a place to host exhibitions, but it also has photographic studios, a restaurant, a 12,500 square foot hidden garden and a cultural events space.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery has always been about blurring the lines. “We are not interested in design," reads the DNA section of its website. The gallery aims to be a space for where design becomes art, celebrating and elevating collectible design. Working with artists from Wonmin Park to Vincenzo De Cotiis, Michèle Lamy (who designed Ladbroke Halls’s Lamyland Patron Bar
And Lounge alongside Rick Owens) to Ingrid Donat, the broad spectrum of disciplines lends itself to the goal. “The gallery lives within the cultural ecosystem of Ladbroke Hall which is not limited to exhibiting art and design,” Le Gaillard explains. “Ladbroke Hall offers a new stage for people to experience creative expression in its many forms: contemporary art, collectible design, theatre, music, dance, and dining are all allowed to communicate with one another in a cohesive manner.”
With many galleries focussed on setting up Mayfair, or central London, why choose this enclave of West London? “Like many of our decisions, it has been driven by passion and intuition,” Le Gaillard answers. “We were moved by the history of Ladbroke Hall and hope to contribute to its legacy.” The Beaux Arts building was a hub for craftsmanship, as it was formerly the Sunbeam Talbot Motorworks HQ, set up by Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 20th Earl of Shrewsbury & Talbot. Post WWII, Ladbroke Hall became the car parts service centre, and a car dealership.
In the 1980s, it was studios for Thames Television and other well-known shows, like The Bill. 2019 was when Le Gaillard and Lombrail saw its potential, and decided to reimagine the space. Like LDF, Le Galliard wanted to engage with the local community with this venture through a community programme that will activate during the Festival. They will “work with local schools to offer workshops on art and design and other creative activities taking place on site,” he explains. Inside the gallery space, visitors can find both a retrospective of American jeweller Jacqueline Rabun, and a solo show by architectural designers Niko Koronis.