Few established galleries can afford to survive in London’s Mayfair today, let alone emerging businesses. But the young entrepreneurs Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, co-founders of Unit London are investing in bricks and mortar by launching a 6,000 sq. ft gallery in the heart of Mayfair in June. The expansive new space, housed in the former Citibank building on Hanover Square, will launch with an exhibition of new paintings by the South African artist Ryan Hewett (16 June-14 July).

Kennedy and Burt founded Unit London in 2013, establishing pop-ups in Chiswick in west London, Soho and Covent Garden (the latter will continue to run as a satellite space for the next five years). The school friends are building up a primary artist roster with the UK artist Jake Wood-Evans, the Oregon-born Peter Gronquist and the Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi part of the gallery stable; prices for these artists’ works go up to £100,000. However, the duo are also moving into secondary market sales and will organise one-off projects with other international contemporary artists.

“Whilst we are a commercial space, our core mission is the identification, development and exposure of innovative artists,” Kennedy says, adding that some of the artists have stayed with the gallery since its inception. The business partners say they are not gallerists but rather “a brand”, and they insist that Unit London is entirely self-funded. Read more