Despite the lockdown and the majority of the shops being closed, there is still plenty going on behind the scenes in Connaught Village.
We’re pleased to see a new opening planned for Connaught Village for Simon Carter, a quality menswear brand. Simon has a small number of shops in other similar village locations in London, so this looks to be a good partnership for both Connaught Village and Simon Carter. The shop will be opening at 20 Connaught Street, either on the day that retail is allowed to reopen or shortly after. Please do visit once it opens. There are a number of other potential retailers interested in the Village; watch this space for more information.
With light at the end of the tunnel and dates for the reopening of retail and hospitality, the Church Commissioners are looking at ways of promoting the Village without social contact. Plans are still being finalised at this stage. As well as potential events (see below) there is a hope that outdoor seating will again be able to be provided for restaurants.
Halima Nalecz was an eminent artist and promoter of new and emerging artists. Born in Dukszty in Lithuania, she fled through war-torn Europe before settling in London in 1947. In 1957 she opened the Drian art gallery in Porchester Place at the units now occupied by Buchanans and Lacquered + Stripped (click here for a photo as it was then). It remained there until the 1990s after which Halima continued to paint.
In recognitioin of Halima’s contributions, a green plaque is being installed at the site of the gallery. As the nomination states: “The Drian deserves recognition for its role in promoting and supporting avant-garde art of the 1950s and 60s and Halima Nalecz deserves the same for her role as a patron of the arts, especially in and for Poland”. Once restrictions ease, the Church Commissioners are considering a possible event to celebrate the unveiling of the plaque.
Vacant unit activation
The Church Commissioners are looking at other ways to liven the village, in particular for those units that are currently empty. One idea is to activate the windows of some of those units with “living artwork”, incorporating flowers and plants. The first of these, “Wild”, created by internationally-acclaimed horticultural installation artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, has now been installed at 9 Porchester Place. Do go and check out this fascinating display! These join some of the other activations that have already taken place, such as the light display by artists Rob and Nick Carter at the old Roni’s bakery (corner of Porchester Place and Connaught Street):