Damien Hirst Trades Spots For Bricks And Mortar

New Hirst Eco devolopment in Devon builds 500 new affordable homes

Damien Hirst, is turning his entrepeneurial  expertise to property development. Yesterday he unveiled plans to  build 500 eco homes overlooking the Bristol Channel. The 46 year old stated that he was “incredibly excited” about the Ilfracombe, Devon development, a project in which he hopes will create a national blueprint for environmental housing.  Hirst is no stranger to business in the area, he already owns a restaurant, a studio used in the manufacture of his art and several other properties. The homes will feature wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels and state-of-the-art insulation. The architects acting for his new company are ready to submit a planning applications by the summer with building work commencing early next year.

The announcement was made by architect Mike Rundell, at a planning meeting. Mr Rundell said: “I’m a representative of Damien Hirst. He owns 40 per cent of the land we are developing”. “He is a very successful artist and has very high ambitions for this project. He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings.”The houses would be built on land at Winsham Farm, just outside Ilfracombe, which Mr Hirst has made his home in recent years.

In 1996 Rundell worked with Damien Hirst to create Pharmacy – a restaurant in West London that won numerous design awards although it is now best known for the sale of its interiors in 2002 at Sotheby’s. In 1997 he founded Rundell Associates and started to concentrate on arts based projects that have included both residential work as well as art galleries and artist’s studios. In 2000 he worked with leading art dealer Jay Jopling to create White Cube, Hoxton, and in 2006 they opened a second White Cube in St James’s. This latter building was the first free standing new-build structure in the area for 50 years and has won several awards including the ECOLA (European Convention of Leading Architects) first prize in 2008.

In September 2008, Mr Hirst sold a complete show called Beautiful Inside My Head Forever at Sotheby’s for  £111million, breaking the record for a one-artist sale. His wealth was valued at £215 million in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List. Mr Rundell added: “Damien is a local developer. He lives locally, shops locally, owns local businesses and his children go to local schools. He cares about Ilfracombe and wants this project to have a positive effect on the town.”

Rundell Associates offers clients a uniquely personalised architecture and design service for projects of every size. Recent commissions have ranged from individual items of furniture to the masterplanning of a major new development in the West of England. Drawing on a wide range of backgrounds within the practice – where carpenters and stage designers work side by side with trained architects – we bring a fresh, practical and meticulously detailed approach to each project, taking time to understand the client’s expectations, the nature of the setting and the opportunities, constraints and possibilities presented by the brief. Rather than conforming to a ’house style’, each project is shaped through dialogue with the client, blending their aspirations and creativity with our own design philosophy; this collaborative process is an essential characteristic of their work.

Fundamental to their philosophy is that the designs should be simple enough to appear “inevitable” solutions to the client’s brief. Fashionable flourishes are resisted in favour of a timeless approach, where craftsmanship and painstaking design determine the final result. Details are carefully considered to ensure that the choice of materials, and their formal arrangement, properly complements their function. All projects share an atmosphere of precision and ingenuity, finding beauty in the elegance of design solutions rather than the purely decorative. We believe that this combination of creative collaboration, careful analysis and innovative thinking produces elegant buildings whose quality is evident.

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