The new international headquarters for Bonhams, one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, transforms the company’s home in the heart of London’s art scene in Mayfair into the most modern auction experience in the world.
Bonhams sought to significantly raise the quality of its estate given limited possibility for expansion. Comprising of, and surrounded by, listed buildings, the estate's challenging rights-to-light issues, complex party wall and Crossrail considerations drove 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.
Passing through the narrow entrance of Bonhams on 101 New Bond Street, visitors are treated to the drama of alight-filled 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 lightboxes set at intervals, hinting at the levels of the former floors.
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 saleroom.
The three salerooms 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 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.
In Haunch of Venison Yard, the elegant façade encloses a new landscaped courtyard served by a café and brasserie, a destination that will provide a relaxing suntrap during the day, and an outdoor space for art and events and dining in the evening.
The new headquarters was opened in October 2013 by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.