Tucked away on 9 Conduit Street in London’s Mayfair is sketch, a discreet townhouse that houses several highly theatrical restaurants and bars, one of which is the Gallery – the brainchild of culinary genius Pierre Gagnaire and restauranteur Mourad Mazouz.
Serving delectable morsels that draw on influences from Japan, Italy, Spain and Britain – all underpinned by French cuisine – the Gallery is also the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the world to serve high tea.
Bill Clinton, Kate Moss and Prince Andrew have all dined here.
Every several years, an artist is commissioned and given carte blanche to showcase an installation in the Gallery.
In 2014, celebrated British artist David Shrigley was handed that privilege. 239 of Shringley’s works line the restaurant walls, forming the largest group of original drawings Shrigley has ever exhibited. The drawings touch on the grand themes of life and death.
These playful and witty, rather outré art works are complemented by the interior designed by Paris based architect and designer India Mahdavi.
Mahdavi conceived a clean, strikingly simple interior that updates an archetypal brasserie design with a very contemporary splash of pink on the walls and velvet-covered custom-made furniture.
Restauranteur Mourad Mazouz has said, “The walls are pink. The furniture is pink. The ceiling is pink. Everything is pink. It’s a statement.”
This project followed the huge success of Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed’s restaurant commission; he transformed this Mayfair interior into a riot of stripes, block colour and mismatch furnishings.
“I wish the next artist will do tables from the ceiling,” says Mazouz.
The food offerings are presented on beautiful ceramics designed by David Shrigley himself.
Portraying his creativity and mordant humor, Shrigley’s selection of ceramic tableware include plates demonstrating the restaurant’s location on Conduit Street and an assortment of bespoke afternoon tea accessories featuring a natural extension of the artist’s well known, deliberately limited, technique to combine art with words.
Adds Shrigley, it is the “first artwork that I have made that can go in the dishwasher. It will be very clean artwork.”
Bespoke Staff Uniforms
Fashion designer Richard Nicoll – who has dressed the likes of Kylie Minogue, Sienna Miller and Anne Hathaway – was enlisted to create bespoke uniforms for the Gallery restaurant staff to wear.
For the females, the design was a play on Nicoll’s signature T-shirt dress silhouette; for the men, a smart, grey boiler-suit.
The series of artistic installations at sketch contribute to 9 Conduit Street’s rich heritage as a destination for experimentation in design, art and architecture in a building whose previous incarnations over the past century include hosting the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Atelier of Christian Dior.
Images: Provided by sketch