Elephant. It’s not just in the room, it has become the room... and rather a mammoth one at that. Ok – so, it’s actually a building. The spirited visual culture fanatics behind Elephant Magazine have just opened their first physical art space, Elephant West, which launched officially in November 2018. Designed by award-winning architecture studio, Liddicoat & Goldhill, the project space occupies a repurposed petrol station adjacent to Television Centre on Wood Lane. No stranger to a makeover, the formerly derelict structure also featured as the canvas of a ‘TV test card-inspired’ public art piece back in 2017. This latest transformation seems the natural next step. The new building encompasses a main project space, as well as a café-bar (aptly named Fuel), a workstation hub and a shop.
In keeping with Elephant Magazine’s tagline, “Life Through Art”, this striking new space promises to deliver a jumbo medley of art and cultural experiences. In addition to commissioning new site-responsive installations from emerging visual artists, the space will also play host to a wide range of events. Like, a really, really wide range! Over the course of 2019, Elephant West will be a juncture for film screenings, dance performances, panel discussions, inspirational talks, yoga classes, DJ nights, cocktail-making workshops and live radio broadcasts. Open six days a week, it’s a dynamic, ever-changing environment offering something for everyone who drops by; Fuel serves coffees in the morning, drinks in the evening, and everything in between.
Elephant West has established a new model for cultural spaces; neither publicly funded nor a commercial gallery, they aim to support emerging creative practices whilst building a community of the culturally interested. Their inaugural event comprised a showcase of 11 artists shortlisted for the first Elephant X Griffin Art Prize. Site-responsive as promised (one piece was poured directly on the concrete floor) the display superbly demonstrated Elephant’s intent to transcend conventional interactions with art. No such thing as ‘wall space only’ here!
A respected and devoted trumpeter for art and all that it entails, Elephant’s good energy adds a valuable dynamic to White City’s continued metamorphosis. Rule 10 of the Elephant Manifesto – to turn everyday life into art – is exactly the sort of approach that thrives in our special pocket of west London. Convention defying, design-savvy and exhilaratingly zany, Elephant West has summoned an exciting cultural revolution that is bound to ripple through the area for months to come.