No. 43: Atelier LK’s Immersive Design London Pop Up

Designers Lisa Jones and AHL Design Editor Ruby Kean reimagine Ron Hitchin's art-filled Hackney home

Dance studio. Artists include Joel Tomlin, EJR Barnes, Ben Branagan
Dance studio. Artists include Joel Tomlin, EJR Barnes, Ben Branagan

By Janet Mercel on 10.9.21

From the mid 1950’s until his death in 2019 at the age of 93, the pink brick house in East London’s Hackney neighborhood was the home, studio, gallery, flamenco dance venue and international culture hub of Ron Hitchins. The Chinese-Lithuanian artist was a “jazz fiend” who preferred sculpting naked, pen-palled with Martha and Ernest Hemingway, and covered every interior surface, including his magnificent canopy bed, with hand carved wood tiles, ceramics, metal sculptures and every oddity of visual art. 

A Hotel Life Design Editor Ruby Kean and Lisa Jones, founders of design studio Atelier LK, have maintained the building’s legacy with their pop up exhibition, ‘No. 43.’ A curation of Hitchin’s work, collections of 20th Century furniture, and over 240 artworks from three dozen contemporary artists and designers, the show is layered throughout the five rooms and garden in a tableau of a modern home against the backdrop of its Victorian setting.

Entrance with artworks by Jess Murphy, Ron Hitchins
Entrance with artworks by Jess Murphy, Ron Hitchins

Despite having lived on the same road as Hitchins for twelve years, Lisa, formerly a fashion buyer for Browns in London and Opening Ceremony in New York, never knew what lay beyond the verdigris door until the house went on the market. Her immediate connection to the building and to Hitchin’s best friend, Mike Jingle, crystallized into reality when the house became her family’s future home. Before the renovation takes place, however, Lisa and Ruby, who was previously Kit Kemp’s head of design at Firmdale Hotels for five years, are reliving Hitchin’s creative glory days in their immersive design exhibition. 

 

Lisa Jones and AHL Design Editor Ruby Kean by Richard Round-Turner
Lisa Jones and AHL Design Editor Ruby Kean by Richard Round-Turner

Both Ruby and Lisa are London born, and the show champions much of Hackney’s local talent, as well as the rest of the UK and designers and craftspeople of all mediums from New York, Los Angeles, France and Canada. Travel, the designers tell AHL, has always informed their work both personally and now together at the design studio. Atelier LK was founded in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, when the world was at a standstill, and No. 43 was a way of reaching out to artists throughout the world and for viewers to travel, at least in their imaginations. “Currently we’re on the hunt for a special New York location,” Lisa says. “We love the idea of finding another historical artist’s house and bringing their legacy alive with our collection, curation and the work of contemporary artists, as we did here with Ron Hitchins.”

Every work on display in the show is for sale, through October 15. By appointment only. www.atelier-lk.com

Dining room. Artists include Hermentaire, Oliver Cook, Atelier LK collection, Ron Hitchins
Dining room. Artists include Hermentaire, Oliver Cook, Atelier LK collection, Ron Hitchins
Kitchen. Artists include Dea Domus, Christabel MacGreevy, Grain & Knot, Jess Murphy
Kitchen. Artists include Dea Domus, Christabel MacGreevy, Grain & Knot, Jess Murphy
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