Caseyfierro completes five-year project to shape Anish Kapoor's London studios

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Over 20 years after artist and sculptor Anish Kapoor moved into an old dairy factory in south London, Caseyfierro Architects has transformed the entire street block into a series of studios, workshops and galleries (+ slideshow).

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

It took architects Michael Casey and Victoria Fierro five years to renovate the buildings without disturbing the day-to-day workings of Kapoor, whose most-famous works include the bean-shaped sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

The result is a series of six spaces, ranging from grand industrial workspaces to pristine white drawing studios, creating 3,100 square metres of floor space.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

"Our incremental transformation provides a suite of new studio spaces for showing, testing, archiving and fabricating Kapoor's artwork," Casey told Dezeen.



"Individual spaces have differing atmospheres," he added. "Each has a bias towards a specific method or material, and sophistication of the method used to create the work."

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

The architects started with the northern end of the street, converting the old dairy building into three studio spaces. The first of these is highlighted from the street by the presence of a huge new clerestory window.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Inside, the removal of the original first floor made it possible to create a nine-metre-high space, extending all the way up from ground level to the roof.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

The north-facing clerestory window helps to bring diffused light into this space from overhead, and original ground-floor windows have been infilled with brickwork to match the walls.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

The other two studios both feature spacious workspaces on the ground floor, while the floors above contains smaller-scale rooms for painting and drawing. A new mezzanine office was also added inside one.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

"The architectural interventions provide an internal world free from external distraction, maintaining a discrete presence on the street," said Casey.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

"The collage of brickwork on the redundant diary building reflects the history of the site through textures and colours."



Some original windows were retained here, while others were filled in or moved elsewhere. But all of the new windows were carefully oriented towards the best views.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

The second phase of the project involved creating a series of smaller studios at the southern end of the street. The most important of these is a 7.5-metre-high space with an exposed steel I-beam structure.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Following Kapoor's brief, each beam can support a suspended weight of up to three tonnes. Combined, the structure can carry even greater loads, so large sculptures can easily be hung overhead.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Other spaces in these three studios include a mezzanine for laying out maquettes, a gallery-like space for testing exhibition environments, and an administration area and an enclosed outdoor yard.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Throughout the six studios, areas of the original brick, paint and plasterwork have been left untouched as traces of history. In some spaces, they are complemented by drawings made on the walls by Kapoor.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

"Anish told us not to create galleries spaces – the typology both precious and oppressive to any creative process," explained Casey. "The artist typically marks walls, scribe works into surfaces or paints directly over the face of his thoughts, so making perfect finished spaces would hinder that freedom."

Fluorescent tubes were installed throughout, providing even lighting at a level of 700 lux throughout.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Kapoor was born in Mumbai in 1954, but has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s. He has become one of the UK's best-known artists, and was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 1991.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Kapoor's sculpture is often architectural in scale.

He teamed up with engineer Cecil Balmond on the controversial ArcelorMittal Orbit, and created womb-like orbs inside Paris' Grand Palais in 2011. He also collaborated with architect Arata Isozaki on an inflatable mobile concert hall that toured earthquake-affected regions of Japan.

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects

Other London artists with architect-designed studios include Antony Gormley, who has a galvanised steel workshop by Carmody Groarke, and ceramic artist Edmund de Waal, who occupies a space renovated by DSDHA.


Project credits:

Studio I
Architecture: Caseyfierro Architects
Client: Anish Kapoor
Team: Michael Casey, Victoria Fierro, Sam Mc Dermott, Ana Durao
Contractor: Hoxon Ltd

Studios II & III
Architecture: Caseyfierro Architects
Client: Anish Kapoor
Team: Michael Casey, Victoria Fierro & Ana Durao
Structural engingeer: MBOK, Michael Baigent & Orla Kelly
Services engineer: Integration

Studios IV, V, VI & VII
Architecture: Caseyfierro Architects
Client: Anish Kapoor
Team: Michael Casey, Victoria Fierro & Ana Durao
Structural engingeer: MBOK, Michael Baigent & Orla Kelly
Services engineer: Integration
Contractor: Hoxon Ltd

Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Site plan – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios I, II and III ground floor plan – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios I, II and III first floor plan – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios I, II and III long section – click for larger image
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios I, II and III cross section one – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios I, II and III cross section two – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios V, VI and VII ground floor plan – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios V, VI and VII first floor plan – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios IV, V and VI long section one – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studios IV, V and VI long section two – click for larger image and key
Anish Kapoor studios by Caseyfierro Architects
Studio VI cross section – click for larger image and key
  • Rip

    Anish is one rich dude.

    • rob

      Yeah, he’s not Kapoor.

    • Alias Darker

      With horrible taste.

  • rrrrich

    So conservative, so expected.

  • Kay

    The exterior is amazing! Generous amount of natural light and functional interior spaces. Great job.

  • DavidGoldiee

    Neoliberal artist…

  • GDavies

    Safe but nice design.

  • TFO

    The mechanical system deserves the greatest commendation. The rest? Quiet and Gagosian-like.