London poses specific and difficult problems for artists’ accommodation. It’s the capital of culture in the UK with more galleries, museums, theatres, and events spaces than any other city. It’s also by far the most unaffordable place for creative people to live. As a result, many artists choose to move away, and only come in for exhibitions or events and find accommodation prices so exorbitant that they end up crashing on friends’ sofas.
Opening in spring 2016, Green Rooms, the latest venture by artist and entrepreneur Nick Hartwright, will be the first "social enterprise" hotel in the city and promises to provide an innovative solution to these problems. Currently being constructed in a huge Art Deco building owned by Haringey Council in north London’s Wood Green, it will become a not-for-profit hotel, event space, and restaurant. This mixed-use building has a focus on the arts, and is being funded by entrepreneur Kurt Bredenbeck and in part by the Mayor of London’s £9 million High Street Fund and Haringey Council.
The hotel will have 20 double rooms, two studio apartments, and two 20-bed dormitories, and room rates will start at £18 per night. Public bookings will open April 1, 2016. Artists staying at the hotel will contribute to a free monthly program of events in collaboration with the venture’s partners, The Royal Court Theatre and Create London. The ground floor will feature a restaurant space that functions as a year-long incubator residency for up and coming restauranteurs, enabling them to get their businesses off the ground and put their ideas to the test. The building will also house an artists’ residency space funded by Arts Council England.
With space at such a premium in the city, it’s really great to see a project taking shape that brings together the local council, artists, large arts organizations, new restauranteurs, and makers of all kinds of culture to bring new life to a beautiful old building.
(Image at top: The building owned by Haringey Council, originally constructed in 1925 for the Northern Metropolitan Power and Electricity Company. Courtesy Green Rooms.)