Bursting out from its East London enclave, Primitive London pops up in central and makes itself at home inside St. Martins Lane Hotel’s Front Room.
From the mind of Lui Nemeth and Andrew Grune, Primitive London’s ever surprising space has blossomed from a gallery to a boutique and so much more by showcasing the most innovative and original creative talents through a myriad of mediums and projects. Difficult to pin down, it is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Usually located within the arches of Haggerston station, St. Martins Lane Hotel’s Front Room entices Primitive London out from its embedded enclave in the east and in to the spotlight of central London for the first time. For the next month the retail experience makes itself at home in the hotel’s evolving space. Joining store stalwarts including Cassette Playa, Ambush, Banzai and Cottweiler, the rails will welcome London favourites Shaun Samson, Nasir Mazhar and Martine Rose while the walls come alive with the work of a rotating programme of artists. We met Andrew in his new front room to chat collaborations, customers and touring the world.
Tell us about the Front Room, how did it come to be? The Front Room is a space run by St Martins Lane that hosts different pop-up events throughout the year. We were approached by Purple about the possibility of participating in one of these events, an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. We have been curious for a long time about how people would react to Primitive in Central and we are extremely excited about the event and can’t wait to open the doors to the public.
You are sure to introduce Primitive to new customers. For those unfamiliar, how would you describe Primitive? We are finding it harder and harder to describe Primitive ourselves. We started off as a gallery in 2010 and then opened as a boutique in early 2011 in our railway arch in Haggerston but kept a gallery feel to the shop. Recently we have expanded our website to an online platform that has been divided into four sections: TXT, IMG, AUD and VID. Designers, musicians, artists, photographers and writers contribute content to our site.
How would you describe your approach to fashion? I think it is quite unique as both Lui and I come from art backgrounds. We are much more interested in the creative aspect of fashion rather than the commercial side. Primitive also hosts many parties, pop-up shops, art shows and fashion presentations in our own space, around London and elsewhere in the world. We are also launching our second collection which is a collaboration with Nadir Tejani named ‘TEN’ and a capsule collection of bags and accessories made with Levi Mars named PRMTV in time for fashion week which will be available at the pop-up.
What can people expect from the Front Room? How will it differ from your Haggerston base? We will be showcasing our usual lineup of designers but we will also be displaying and selling garments from designers new to the Primitive family, such as Shaun Samson, Nasir Mazhar, Martine Rose and W by Weltenbuerger. Adding to the gallery aspect of Primitive we will have a rotating selection of artists exhibiting work including(in order); Dora and Maja, Henry Mackay-Bull and Daniel Swan.
Who or what are you most excited about? Definitely our friend from Tokyo, BANZAI! We have stocked him since day one. His latest collections have been something else and we will be showing his latest work ‘HAKA’ and also his previous collection’BANZAI OPERATION’. Google it, you won’t be disappointed.
What’s your own Front Room like? Lui and I just moved out of our studio and we are yet to find a new one. Our front room is full of fabric, sewing machines and endless bits and bobs. It is complete chaos.
You always have a mix of launches and events on the horizon, what’s next for Primitive? We are going on a bit of a world tour, two weeks after we launch our event in the Front Room we will be conducting a pop-up shop in Tokyo in collaboration with a company called Babylon in Laforet, Harajuku. After Japan, we will quickly be stopping in Sydney for my sister’s wedding. After that we are off to LA for another pop-up in a store called Weltenbuerger!
Text: Steve Salter
Images: Courtesy of Primitive London