20 July 2021
Forma is pleased to announce the launch of its cultural hub FormaHQ, made possible through the support of Arts Council England. Commissioned by Southwark Council alongside curator Aldo Rinaldi, the refurbished building was designed by Sanchez Benton architects together with the celebrated Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri. The summer programme hosted at the new site will kick-off at the end of July 2021 and includes a series of live events, performances and screenings.
The modernist structure is a former podium terrace and collection of garages built in the 1960s. Sanchez Benton architects and Gabriel Kuri reference the Bricklayers Arms’s famous history of a 19-century stopping point on the pilgrimage through London and turned the walled garden into an oasis on the edge of the roundabout. Three large openings were created in the existing concrete deck, one for the stairs to the public garden, one for a large central skylight and a third as an opening for a tree to climb through, connecting the two levels. The light-filled frame houses Forma’s office, five artist studios, a residency space for visiting international artists, an event space as well as room for a café and bookshop.
Forma further adapted the ground floor in line with its ambitions to make the space as accessible and environmentally sustainable as possible. This was done with the support of £100,000 from Arts Council England’s Small Capital Grants fund and £18,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund: Capital Kickstart administered by Arts Council England.
The rooftop was converted into a public garden designed with celebrated horticulturalist Nigel Dunnett and will be fitted with furniture designed by Gabriel Kuri. It will be open to the public on selected weekdays between 11am–5pm.
Chris Rawcliffe, Artistic Director, Forma Arts and Media, said: “The scale, high quality design and versatility of Peveril Garden Studios represent a huge opportunity for Forma to embed itself within Southwark and bridge the gap between Forma’s national contemporary art commissions and its London community. The vision of curator Aldo Rinaldi and the beautiful designs of Nigel Dunnett, Gabriel Kuri, and Sanchez Benton architects create an inspiring work environment for our artists and collaborators. Forma’s team and Trustees will work closely with our new partners at Southwark Council to make this new cultural hub and garden a destination for local residents and Londoners alike, and for all those seeking an oasis of nature, culture and peace. ”
FormaHQ working hours are Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm
The garden will be open to the public on selected weekdays during office hours.
Affordable Artist Studios
Artist studios will launch in August 2021. Please check our Studios page for further information, costs and the application form.
Forma is centrally located between zones 1-2. Elephant & Castle, Borough and London Bridge Underground stations are 10-15 minutes walk and there are numerous bus connections within a few minutes from the building.
About Sanchez Benton Architects
Carlos Sanchez and Tom Benton met while working at 6a architects and established their practice in 2017 to work on projects that have a social, poetic and architectural ambition. Their approach is both pragmatic and philosophical, working collaboratively and continuing conversations with clients, colleagues and consultants throughout the process. With every project, the team sets out to understand the cultural setting of the work and then develops an appropriate response. It is a method that celebrates and respects the latent beauty and merit in what is present, what has been, and what could come next. The team has designed and built works of architecture on listed buildings, in Conservation Areas, and at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The studio works across a broad mix of projects and includes the recent conversion of a 1960’s podium garden and garages into artist studios and a raised public garden in Southwark, a contemporary art gallery in Vauxhall, a masterplan and kiosk for Holyrood street as part of the Low Line, and the conversion of the old Thorowgoods Furniture building into an Arts Centre in Bermondsey.
About Gabriel Kuri
Gabriel Kuri (born 1970, Mexico) lives and works in Brussels. Bridging fabricated and found objects, Kuri’s sculptures and installations address themes of systemisation, consumption, and the porous border between functionality and formal allure. Alternating between floor-based sculptures and wall works, Kuri’s practice evinces the complex relationships between the innate material properties of things – their sheen, softness, weight or colour – and their ‘real world’ meanings, establishing an uncertain interplay between the abstract or symbolic potential of his materials and their everyday origins and uses, often raising questions concerned with broader socio-cultural systems of hierarchy and value-construction.
About Nigel Dunnett
Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, and is one of the world’s leading voices on innovative approaches to planting design. He is a plantsman, designer and pioneer of the new ecological approach to planting gardens and public spaces. His work revolves around the integration of ecology and horticulture to achieve low-input, high-impact landscapes that are dynamic, diverse, and tuned to nature. Select projects include the Queen Elizabeth London Olympic Park, The Barbican Centre, London and Sheffield Grey to Green. He has authored and co-authored various publications including, The Essential Guide to Naturalistic Planting andDesign and Nigel Dunnett on Planting (both Filbert Press 2019); Rain Gardens: sustainable management of rainwater in the designed Landscape (Timber Press 2007); Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls (Timber Press 2003); and The Dynamic Landscape: design, ecology and management of urban naturalistic planting (Taylor & Francis 2004). In 2018 he won the Landscape Institute Award for Planting Design, Public Horticulture and Strategic Ecology, and the Landscape Institute Fellows Prize for Most Outstanding Project, both for The Barbican, London. In 2016 he was appointed as an Ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society.
About Aldo Rinaldi
Aldo Rinaldi is a London-based curator and producer and has worked independently since 2017, prior to which he oversaw the city wide art programme for Bristol ‘Art and the Public Realm Bristol’. Before working in Bristol he developed projects with a commissioning agency in Cardiff, realizing amongst other things, the first permanent public artwork by Swiss artist Felice Varini. Prior to working in Wales, Aldo was the assistant director of Laurent Delaye Gallery a contemporary art gallery in Savile Row, where he developed the exhibitions programme with artists including Grayson Perry, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Andrew Lewis, Chad McCail and many others. Past projects include new works with Nils Norman (UK), Simon & Tom Bloor (UK), Mark Titchner (UK), N55 (Denmark), MUF architecture/art (UK), Maria Thereza Alves (Brazil), Tue Greenfort (Denmark), Sabine Hornig (Germany) Heather and Ivan Morison (UK), Oscar Tuazon (USA), Richard Long (UK) and Turner Prize winners Assemble, and Roger Hiorns with Stirling Prize winning architects Witherford Watson Mann.
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk.
Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19.
At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund would be boosted with a further £300 million investment. Details of this third round of funding will be announced soon.
• Architectural gardens around the world to soothe the soul (Wallpaper magazine, 22 October 2021)
• Modernist south London garages transformed into arts hub (ICON, 28 July 2021)
• Sanchez Benton’s transformation of a 1960s parking structure is subtly sensitive to history and the local community (Architecture Today)
• New cultural hub for South London launches (The London Press, 21 July 2021)
• New cultural hub for South London launches (FAD Magazine, 21 July 2021)
• New cultural middle for South London opens (Daily London UK, 21 July 2021)
• A new arts space and public roof garden has launched at Peveril Garden, Bricklayers Arms (Old Kent Road, 21 July 2021)
• Refurbished modernist building to become new artistic hub: Forma HQ to launch in Southwark, London this summer (Art Daily, 20 July 2021)
Image courtesy Forma Arts & Media. Photograph by Brotherton/Lock.
Image courtesy Forma Arts & Media.