Grete's Violin

106 Commercial Street, London (2019)

Nestled quietly behind Commercial street’s busy bars and restaurants, opposite the famous Old Spitalfields Market in East London, is Grete’s Violin. The shop itself is located in a former 19th Century stable, and caters to musicians in search of high-quality violins, accessories and repairs.

This project was inspired by Max Richter’s Blue Notebooks and his attempt to find ‘luminosity' using the darkest possible materials, within his music. He describes the act of composition in a highly tactile way; as if the music itself has been moulded or shaped by hand like a piece of clay. This sense of tactility is translated into the shop’s material palette of brushed brass, hammered copper and scorched timber (Yakisugi), the trace of the maker’s hand still visible in each surface. The violence of these processes, emanate the darker undertones in Richter’s works and his fervent protest against the UK's invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The retail space itself consists of a sound-insulated performance space, that can be both intimate for practice and open for events.  Upstairs, a small workshop serves a committed team of craftsmen for the restoration of violins and bows.

" ...it is the idea of trying to make something luminous out of the darkest possible elements...it's almost alchemical, the transmuting of base-metal into gold. "

- Max Richter, describing the Blue Notebooks (2004).

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