Occupying the ground floor of a heritage-listed Georgian townhouse, Francis Gallery has been designed to be a cosy, domestic setting that “shows people how to live with their art”.
“I wanted the space to exude warmth, first and foremost – for people to feel completely welcome and at home when they walk in,” Park told Dezeen.
“At Francis, there is a fluid interplay between the works, furnishings, antiques and interior details.”
Rooms throughout the gallery have thus been arranged much like living spaces, with artworks, antiques and ceramics acting as decoration.
The rear room seems to take cues from a typical study: in its corner lies a bean-shaped wooden desk that’s topped with a reading lamp and a handful of books.
It leads through to a sitting area that’s anchored by a curved faux fireplace. A cream-coloured boucle sofa, pale-timber coffee table and huge pot full of wildflowers has also been used to dress the space.
Walls have been painted a shade of buttermilk-cream, contrasting against the dark-wood floorboards.
The gallery’s light-filled front room that overlooks the surrounding Bath streets will be used as a more typical exhibition space, displaying works from an international roster of artists throughout the year.
A handful of decorative elements are also meant to nod to Park’s Korean roots. The black-framed crittal doors that connect different rooms have been inlaid with sheets of hanji, a handmade Korean paper that’s crafted from the inner bark of mulberry trees.
Each purchase made from the gallery – or on its website – will also come packaged in beige-coloured bojagi, a traditional Korean wrapping cloth.
Despite opening a temporary Francis Gallery in London’s Marylebone neighbourhood in 2018, Park told Dezeen that Bath was a natural choice for setting up a permanent exhibition space.
“As my current residence is in Bath, it made sense to open the first location of Francis Gallery here,” she explained.
“Some of the best examples of Georgian architecture are in Bath, and this was also a contributing factor to setting up shop in this small English city – I love the juxtaposition of the contemporary, abstract art we show, against this classical setting.”
Bath’s architectural landscape also came to inspire the interiors of the city’s Aesop store, which opened at the beginning of this year.
Design studio JamesPlumb decked out the space with tiles reclaimed from local chapels, and mounted discarded chunks of Bath stone on the walls like artefacts.
Photography is by Rory Gardiner unless stated otherwise.
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