Lines Men
Wallpaper|January 2018

Architects Carmody Groarke redraw artist Julian Opie’s London studio

Ellie Stathaki

A first glimpse inside Julian Opie’s studio in Shoreditch, East London, does not reveal much about its recent architectural transformation. Its battered floorboards and hefty timber roof trusses could have been there for centuries. In fact, hardly anything in this refurbished old furniture workshop, which has served as the artist’s base – and, for a while, live/work space – since 1987, screams ‘new’. Yet new it is, following a complete overhaul by Carmody Groarke in a process that lasted over four years. It is testament to the London practice’s masterful sleight of hand in merging old and new.

The idea for the project was born when planning permission was granted for a big new hotel in a plot just feet away from the studio’s back wall. Concerned about privacy and changes in light, Opie decided to take the opportunity and start a project of his own. The plan was to extend his workspace – outgrown by his studio team – adapting it in response to the construction next door. Kevin Carmody and Andy Groarke were already his go-to architects and this would be the latest in a series of collaborations with the artist, the first being Opie’s London home back in 2006. ‘I appreciate Carmody Groarke’s straightforward approach and brilliant understanding of space, so they seemed the obvious choice of architect,’ Opie explains.

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