Situated near Marble Arch in London, Frameless is a stunning 30,000sq ft venue that features award-winning galleries and showcases some of the world’s greatest works of art, presented on a scale and in ways never seen before. Here, RLI speaks with Richard Relton, CEO of Frameless to learn more about this immersive art experience that is rewriting the rules.
Frameless is the largest permanent multi-sensory experience in the UK, featuring four unique galleries that showcase some of the world’s greatest works of art, portrayed in ways people have never seen before. This is the place where art breaks free.
The concept began through the asking of certain questions. What could we do to reveal the art in surprising and unforgettable ways? How could we make sound and music add emotional depth? How do you breathe new life into an Old Master? These were the sort of questions the CEO Richard Relton and his team set out to answer in the creation of a unique art experience.
After sourcing a venue large enough to accommodate the company’s vision in the heart of London’s West End in the newly developed Marble Arch Place, the next 18 months were spent working with outstanding talent from the worlds of technology, art, architecture, music, hospitality and experiential events to create a world-class, digital immersive art experience the likes of which had not been seen before.
“From the very outset, myself and the team at Frameless had a shared ambition, to use each of our galleries to create four completely different experiences that would appeal to wide audiences and many artistic tastes,” explains Relton, CEO of Frameless. “Finding different art for each was where we started but the real challenge was to find different ways of bringing the art to life.”
In ‘Beyond Reality’, visitors can explore the many different ways artists have creatively pushed the envelope and boundaries of realism to explore fantastical worlds. Surreal one moment and other worldly the next, artworks include The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch and The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, with additional pieces from the likes of Edvard Munch, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Thomas Lowinsky, Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst.
Meanwhile in ‘Colour in Motion’, visitors are taken on a journey from Impressionism to Neo and Post Impressionism and experience every brushstroke and splash of colour in these epoch-defining paintings, as they re-paint them with their own gestures and movements thanks to our state-of-the-art motion tracking technology. Artworks in this gallery include Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet and Mont Saint-Michel by Paul Signac. The gallery also features artworks from Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Berthe Morisot and Robert Delaunay.
‘The World Around Us’ uses spectacular six-sided projection which fully immerses visitors in some of the world’s most recognisable art. From crashing oceans to bustling cities, pastoral beauty to fiery volcanoes, visitors will explore all these and more as they journey from the Renaissance to the Romantics to the Post Impressionists. Artworks include Avenue at Chantilly by Paul Cézanne and Piazza Di San Marco by Canaletto along with masterpieces from Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Peter Paul Rubens, J.M.W Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and Rachel Ruysch.
The final gallery is ‘The Art of Abstraction’, which offers visitors the chance to wind their way through a maze of colour, shape and form to discover the pioneers of abstract art. Artworks include Yellow, Red, Blue by Wassily Kandinsky and Composition in Red, Yellow, Blue and Black by Piet Mondrian, with additional artworks from Hilma af Klint, Kazimir Malevich and Paul Klee.
“In order to curate the works of art showcased at Frameless, we enlisted the expert help of ArtscapesUK who were pivotal in ensuring we honoured the art we displayed. For the launch of Frameless we focused on European art to create an entertaining and inspiring experience for the masses. As well as selecting well-known masterpieces we wanted to include lesser-known artworks that were surprising and unpredictable, to introduce new artists to the audience,” explains Relton. He continues by saying that each gallery was carefully themed to take visitors on a journey through different eras of art.
Away from the galleries themselves, Frameless also features a retail offer along with an excellent F&B choice for people to recharge and discuss what they have witnessed in the four areas. The Frameless Café Bar is operated in partnership with Rhubarb Hospitality Collection and the design has an art-centric look and features an organic, fluid LED Sculpture designed by a locally-commissioned artist which complements the architecture.
The Café Bar opens its doors first thing in the morning, offering a delicious choice of breakfast bites and coffees. When lunch rolls around there is a wide range of sandwiches and in the evening there is a wide choice of drinks and cocktails. The Café Bar even offers a Kandinsky inspired immersive afternoon tea.
Once visitors have enjoyed everything Frameless has to offer, they can pop into the Gift Shop and find no shortage of items that have been carefully curated to inspire and excite them. “We value great craftsmanship and many of our bespoke products are inspired by the amazing content at Frameless. The offer in-store is a constantly evolving range which even gives people the opportunity to buy work from some of the most interesting local artisans and craftspeople, as well as exciting work from around the world. It is all designed to add to their enjoyment of the Frameless experience,” Relton says.
Frameless provides a unique backdrop for hosting corporate and other events. Since opening, it has already hosted a number of bespoke activations for high profile brands including a sit down dinner for a luxury watch brand, in a gallery transformed into the Qatari FIFA World Cup stadium which became a fully immersive, highly memorable experience. “Unlike other venues, clients can choose to show their own content which provides endless opportunities for transporting guests to another realm suited to their brand or business objectives,” Relton highlights.
At a time when digital technology is transforming and accelerating every aspect of our lives, Frameless has embraced this and brought it to the world of art. “The result is a unique art experience, designed to engage a modern audience in an enthralling way. Innovative, multi-sensory and culturally rich, Frameless is a compelling business proposition and a rewarding customer experience. Or to put it another way, an art experience designed for today.”
As our time with Richard comes to an end, he highlights that while London is their first home, it almost certainly won’t be their last. They intend to create a network of branded immersive Frameless experiences around the world and they are already establishing a pipeline of venues as well as licensing content to do just that.