Shaftesbury has officially announced that internationally acclaimed contemporary gallery, Unit London, will be debuting its new experience-led Unit X concept in a permanent curated space within Seven Dials.
Signing for a 5,498 sq ft former horse stables site with a dedicated courtyard at 40 Earlham Street, the announcement marks the art collective’s homecoming to the West End destination, after working with Shaftesbury on their first exhibition space in Seven Dials during the gallery’s formative years.
Founders Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt established Unit London in their early-20s without any formal training or experience, instead harnessing the power of social media to build the platform from scratch. Driven by an ethos to expose emerging talent and break down the art world’s elitist barriers, Unit London has now achieved global recognition for its unconventional approach, with an established network of buyers and celebrity support including Jude Law, Jean Paul Gaultier and Bob Geldof.
Launching in April, Unit X will provide a fresh, experience-led perspective on art, focusing on cultural events, brand collaborations and partnerships alongside a world-class roster of exhibitions. The new long-term concept space will complement Unit London’s existing 6,000 sq ft gallery in Mayfair, offering the same seamless integration of digital and analogue elements, and continuing the flagship’s sleek aesthetic as designed by the gallery directors.
Commenting on the signing, Samantha Bain-Mollison, Head of Retail at Shaftesbury, said: “This is a wholly bespoke and distinctive space in the heart of London’s West End, and now newly-refurbished, it lends itself perfectly to the immersive and creative offering that will be Unit X. The concept adds to the experience-led and art-focused evolution of Seven Dials, which includes the recently launched LUMAS Gallery, Creoate, creative brand collaborations, and our public installations throughout the destination. The signing of Unit X is a great milestone for us as we continue to diversify the destination, and also shows the value in the way we nurture and incubate emerging brands with creative and entrepreneurial ideas.”
Joe Kennedy, Co-Founder at Unit London added: “Seven Dials has historically played a pivotal role in the launch of our business, so it’s a pleasure to be returning to once again launch a fresh and unique gallery concept to the UK and beyond. As we know from experience, Seven Dials is committed to progressive, innovative initiatives and we share common values. 40 Earlham Street is an unparalleled space in London, and we can’t to activate it with Unit X’s exciting, interdisciplinary and inclusive cultural experience.”
The Unit X announcement also coincides with Shaftesbury’s new commission for Eleanor Shakespeare, giving the London-based photomontage illustrator the opportunity to showcase her work on temporary hoardings along Neal Street. Unit X also joins a number of new international retail entrants including Aesop, Nudie Jeans, RAINS, Fashercise and Kompanero, many of which selected the destination for flagship and key concept sites.