This is sad: The Foundry, one of the landmarks of East London’s art scene, is set for demolition.
The Foundry has been a focal point for arts activity for over a decade: Pete Doherty hosted its poetry night, Hot Chip formed there, and the graffiti walls downstairs feature early works by street artists Banksy and Faile. It may not look much from the outside, but step through the door and you find yourself inside a pleasingly ramshackle pub and arts venue, glowing with the light of a myriad neon signs and a plethora of old school TV screens and monitors, and splattered with a rainbow of graffiti. Downstairs are galleries and performance spaces, and upstairs is the bar, which always has a lively atmosphere, with crowds of cyclists hanging out on the benches outside, and a DJ spinning some ear-splittingly weird and wonderful tunes.
But now The Foundry is due to be pulled down after the site owners drew up plans for an 18-storey hotel and ‘retail complex’ (just what we always wanted!) on the site. Hackney Council have approved plans, but ironically (though perhaps unsurprisingly) they are planning to salvage a wall painted with one of the biggest Banksy murals in Britain, depicting a six metre high rat with a knife and fork, despite the fact that the rest of the building will be completely demolished.
Read more on the Guardian website here.
[Image of The Foundry by Sarah Lee, via the Guardian]