London & South East

Sotheby’s: Phase Two

Sotheby's- London-based auction house

Phase Two of a scheme to refurbish galleries at Sotheby’s is on course to begin later this year.

The latest phase of works is part of a four-phased project to refurbish the main galleries at the London-based auction house. Once work is complete on all four phases of the scheme the Grade II Listed building will benefit from new and improved facilities.

Phase Two of the refurbishment scheme comprises the installation of new lighting systems and the replacement of associated materials and follows the successful completion of Phase One. The first phase of the scheme reached completion in September 2012 and comprised the replacement and upgrade of a lantern which overlooks two of the galleries, along with the upgrade of heating and cooling systems.

Sotheby's- London-based auction house

Once work is completed on Phase Two, the third phase – which includes improvements of wall linings, skirting, doors and security systems – will get underway.

Fairhurst Ward Abbotts is the main contractor on the scheme, whilst Walker Nicholas Architects is providing all architectural services.

Commenting on the refurbishment scheme, Sotheby’s Head of the Properties and Facilities Department Justin Weller, said:

“The aim of the scheme is to improve the overall look and feel of the internal spaces. We originally considered undertaking the work in one operation, but once we realised that this would not be feasible we divided the scheme into four phases.

“Whilst work is ongoing on the scheme we are keeping Sotheby’s open for business. However we have closed the effected galleries and have factored the work into our summer period when we have no sales.

Sotheby's- London-based auction house

“Phase One of the project ran very smoothly, with no major problems. Our biggest challenge was actually Olympics-related, as due to the sporting event taking place in London we were unable to use a crane on the site. Instead materials had to be brought in and manually lifted into the building, but apart from this everything else ran according to plan.”

Justin added:

“As the work that we are conducting is internal, we are unable to do much in the way of prep work for Phase Two of the scheme, with the exception of pre-ordering materials, so we are pretty much starting from scratch again on the 13th July.

“Phase Three will get underway the following summer and then Phase Four – which concentrates on flooring – will be undertaken some time in 2015. As long as everything remains on track, the bulk of this scheme will actually reach completion in 2014.”

Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is one of the largest auctioneers in the world, specialising in fine art, jewellery and collectables. The auction house is divided into three sections – auction, finance and dealer – with services ranging from corporate art services to private sales.

Sotheby's- London-based auction house

Today, Sotheby’s maintain 90 locations in 40 countries, conducting more than 250 auctions per year in over 70 categories. In addition, all Sotheby’s’ clients can watch auctions live online, placing bids in real time, from anywhere in the world.

Justin said:

“This scheme is very important to us and especially to our clients. We want the galleries to look as good as possible and this can only be achieved by completing necessary works such as these.

“In a very competitive market it is vital for us as a business to ensure that all our selling spaces reflect what today’s client expects from an auctioneer and the refurbishment allows us to maximise on our potential.”

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