Kilimanjaro Group, a subsidiary of Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG), who currently produce over 2,000 live music and theatrical shows each year, has acquired its first long-term lease on a venue, after being granted a 15-year-lease to transform the London Bridge arches location into a new cultural hub at the heart of the English capital.
To be named, Arches at London Bridge, the new exhibition location will see a £5 million ($6.1 million) start-up investment, which will go towards creating an immersive cultural space, projected to open in spring 2023.
It marks Kilimanjaro Group’s “first long-term lease acquisition into entertainment venues. London Bridge sees a footfall of over 60 million passengers each year, and following a £1 billion [$1.3 billion] redevelopment, Network Rail Property team recognised the opportunity to continue the transformation, with an iconic and extraordinary space under London Bridge station,” according to the press release.
Arches at London Bridge will feature curved six-meter high 360-degree cavernous galleries to showcase exhibition content that travels the globe and often struggles to find space in London.
The first will be an immersive art experience around the work of one of the greatest artists of the past century, Claude Monet (1840-1926), which aims to enhance he impressionist painter’s work with the help of state-of-the-art multimedia technology.
At a total 1047 square meters of exhibition space, the venue is estimated to welcome up to 400,000 visitors each year, spanning a wide range of consumer groups, as well as forging links between local community and initiatives. The events and exhibitions will be ticketed, the café/bar and retail will be open to the public with no ticket needed.
Arches at London Bridge is designed by architects Cubit3D. It will give London a centrally located accessible exhibition space, that is not tied to the charitable objectives of a publicly funded Museum.
Liz Koravos will be at the helm of the newly established venue. She brings a wealth of exhibition and business development expertise, having overseen the design, operation and build of the British Music Experience (BME), the UK’s Museum of Popular Music in Liverpool. Koravos commented, “We are thrilled to bring this exciting new cultural arts space to London. We can’t wait to open the doors of Arches at London Bridge and welcome in visitors to the worlds created by some of the finest producers and artists working today.”
Kilimanjaro Live CEO Stuart Galbraith commented, “Kilimanjaro are excited to enter into the exhibition space as a new venture for the group, a rare cultural hub, that’s at liberty to host all the weird, wild and wonderful exhibitions that travel the world. Our aim is to make Arches at London Bridge a thrilling cultural encounter for Londoners and tourists alike, bringing a constantly changing line-up of highly sought after exhibits and interactive experiences, that are already enjoyed by other major cities across the globe.”
Professor Peter L.H. Schwenkow, CEO of Kili’s parent DEAG, commented, “We are delighted to further expand our business segment Arts+Exhibitions and to be part of UK‘s very vibrant cultural and artistic life with Arches at London Bridge. With over 70 million overnight stays per year, London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Arches at London Bridge is located in the heart of London, close to attractions such as Tower Bridge, London Bridge and The Shard. By taking over the management of another venue, DEAG is able to act as venue, as co-producer, or producer in the cultural hotspot of central London.”
The UK is DEAG’s most important market outside of Germany, and the company has been investing heavily in the market over the past years.
Prior to the renovation of London Bridge Station in 2012, the original arches housed Southwark Theatre, with the space since being preserved by Southwark Council for Cultural use. Plus, with the site being located within the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) and identified as a Strategic Cultural Area within the London Plan, moments from the Thames, Tower Bridge, The Shard and Bermondsey Market, the conception of the Arches at London Bridge was inevitable.