By Darren Southgate
Great cities are full of surprises, every time you visit something new presents itself or serendipity presents a happy happenstance. Visiting the Biscuit Factory this week was one of those moments, allied to visiting this great old building, the attraction of seeing comedy genius Jim Moir AKA Vic Reeves’ personal artwork gave us two good reasons to be in Newcastle, the third, a necessity to Christmas shop!
The Biscuit Factory is one of the UK’s largest independent galleries. A former Victorian warehouse and biscuit manufacturing facilities constructed in masonry and timber in 1870, this handsome building was given another life after an extensive renovation, opening as a gallery in 2002.
The interior is spacious, perfect for artwork, in the centre an atrium space houses a stainless-steel feature stair that takes you up to the first floor. The series of gallery spaces at this level are set up in a donut shape. The subtle differences in each space are reinforced by the clever use of roller blinds which creates hanging areas for art, and defined spaces for sculpture therefore creating a number of permutations. An array of great works, throughout, has you smiling and frowning in equal measures. And all for sale.
Great panoramic views across the city can be enjoyed from the café and when the weather is better, an outdoor space can be used creating a fabulous indoor-outdoor experience. Throughout the café, interesting artistic works are used for the everyday, like door handles and lights.
Having spent time in the Toffee Factory working with colleagues or the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, enjoying larger installations, this city has much to offer, be surprised about and want to come back to in the future.