THE ‘LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair Berkeley Square’ (September 19-23) may have a great Mayfair location but, since its launch in 2009, it has struggled with how to fit the 90-odd exhibitors into a marquee within the tight confines of the site.
However, last week LAPADA announced that this year they will share a structure with the French-organised Pavilion of Art & Design London (PAD) which runs from October 10-14.
This seems a shrewd move as the fairs are very close time-wise and makes sense for both parties, both financially and in securing a long-term contract with Westminster City Council.
The collaboration had no doubt been aided by LAPADA's appointment of Mieka Sywak as fair and events organiser in November 2011. She was previously associate director of Pavilion of Art & Design London, helping to establish and organise this event, so is experienced with working with the Berkeley Square site and the physical restrictions imposed by the fiercely protected plane trees, planted there in the 18th century. She also worked for Hopkins Custot gallery, part owned by PAD co-founder Stéphane Custot.
"In essence, the shared structure means LAPADA fair exhibitors will benefit from a completely new, simplified layout, more spacious 3.5 metre-tall walls for a majority of the stands, wider aisles, and an increased square meterage for the fair overall," said Ms Sywak.
"There will be around 10% more stands than last year when the fair had 88 exhibitors."
One section of the new structure will be double-height with two floors, housing a restaurant with outside terrace overlooking the square on the upper level. On the ground-floor level of this section, a new stand option will be offered at a lower price per square metre than any stands available last year, because of the stand walls being 3m tall, rather than 3.5m elsewhere in the structure. Stand rates elsewhere in the fair will remain at 2011 prices.
This year will also see an improved online preview section to the fair's website (www.lapadalondon.com), where dealers can upload stock before the fair, as well as the introduction of a new Mayfair Cultural App, with a map of the 60-odd Mayfair and St James's-based LAPADA members.
This is intended to encourage fairgoers to visit other galleries while in the area and LAPADA are urging these galleries to schedule autumn exhibitions to open during the fair.