PJ's Somerset cool
Somerset House has taken on a lot of London cool. Let go of that wintertime skating image, the Courtauld Gallery (excellent though it is), and think instead of the Thames-side location being the home of fast-growing cab app firm Hailo and a host of start-ups, Skye Gyngell’s new eatery, Spring, and the new Mapping the City exhibition of 50 artists working in the urban environment. Most of all think PJ Harvey.
Harvey is tooling away for a month in a new recording studio in Somerset House, working on a new album aptly titled Recording In Progress. The USP is that he space, created by Something & Son, boasts two large, windows so that viewers can see the artist - in 45-minute sessions - and studio technicians crafting the new tracks.
Harvey, working with arts producer Artangel, very much views the Somerset House residency as a public art project, and believes the location will influence the music. "The acoustics of a particular space are inevitably captured in the sounds of the recordings: but more than that, the resonance of the building on a different level. Its atmosphere, its character," she says.