Damien Hirst is on a roll.
Hot on heels of the launch of his stunning private museum, Newport Street Gallery, and selling one of the most expensive artworks at Frieze, at $1.2 million, the YBA has won a planning battle to build a humongous subterranean art storage facility underneath his London home for his growing art collection.
According to the Daily Mail, when Hirst first submitted the plans for the underground extension to his $61 million mansion in north London, officials deemed it “unacceptable” due to the number of trees which would have to be felled in order to build it.
Hirst pressed on, seemingly not excessively worried about the environmental impact of his plan, and finally got his way at a Westminster Council meeting on Tuesday.
Hirst bought the impressive Grade I listed property opposite Regent’s Park in 2014, becoming its first new owner in 45 years. But the mansion—considered one of the masterpieces of the British architect John Nash—hadn’t been refurbished in years, so the 50-year old artist immediately set to turn the Regency style mansion into a contemporary living haven.
The 150-foot long basement has been designed to house his growing Murderme art collection, which already spans over 3,000 artworks, including pieces by heavy-hitters like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Banksy, and Richard Prince, as well as a large number of works by Hirst’s YBA peers, such as Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw, and Angus Fairhurst (other less predictable names in the collection are Alberto Giacometti, Mario Merz, Kurt Schwitters, and Frank Auerbach).
Hirst’s museum, Newport Street Gallery, was launched earlier this month with the purpose of housing and sharing his collection with the public. But with just one exhibition taking place at a time, and lasting over six months, Hirst clearly needed more real estate to store his art treasures.
The massive basement may be one of the biggest projects he has devised for the house, located on a 21,780-square-feet plot and boasting 19 bedrooms, but it sure isn’t the only one.
The Daily Mail reports that Purcell, the architectural firm tasked with the refurbishment, will revamp both the exterior and the interior of the mansion, turning it into one of the most grand, expensive, and desirable in the affluent area.