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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The all-new Bonhams, London

Compiled by Pari Syal
Photography: Hufton + CrowNina Sologubenko; Alan Marten; courtesy the architects
 
The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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The new international headquarters for Bonhams in the heart of London’s art scene in Mayfair offers the most modern auction experience in the world…

One of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques - Bonhams has a brand new look. Given its limited possibility of expansion, the auction house has sought to significantly raise the quality of its estate.

Comprising of, and surrounded by, listed buildings, the estate's challenging rights-to-light issues and complex party wall and Crossrail considerations is what drives the project. By unpicking the tangle of historic structures on the site and inserting a modern building that offers a highly sophisticated auction experience, the scheme and the £30m investment it represents, secures the continuation of Bonhams’ 220-year tradition of auctioneering in central London.

The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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Passing through the narrow entrance of Bonhams on 101 New Bond Street, visitors are treated to the drama of a light-infused atrium rising to the entire 18.5 metre height of the existing building. This bright, white atrium replaces four storeys of inaccessible rooms and features fluted light boxes set at intervals, hinting at the levels of the former floors.

The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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A brief passage from this entrance along a glazed-roofed route places visitors directly in the centre of action: behind a dramatic carbon-fibre reception desk, a glass wall reveals the double-height space of the 235 sq m New Bond Street Saleroom, Bonhams’ main auction space. A mezzanine-level private gallery offers VIP bidders a clear view across the sales-room. 

The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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Three sales-rooms are arranged as a vertical stack of generously proportioned, fully-flexible spaces with excellent acoustics for both, auction and exhibition. Each saleroom is day-lit via the glazed lift shafts and internal windows. Natural light is augmented by a lighting system recessed into the softly vaulted soffit.

The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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The building’s three passenger lifts rise in glazed shafts that double-up as the west-facing exterior windows of the building. The lifts sit behind distinctive terracotta brise-soleil, a material reference to the other two historic façades of Bonhams. A helical staircase of oak and midnight blue steel provides walking access between the three public levels of the building.

The new international headquarters for Bonhams in London.
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In Haunch of Venison Yard, the elegant façade encloses a new landscaped courtyard served by a café and brasserie, a destination that provides a relaxing suntrap during the day, and an outdoor space for art, events and dining in the evening.

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