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  1. Wealth
January 4, 2013updated 09 May 2016 12:52pm

Goldman Sachs' Arty Dilemma Solved

By Spear's

The mural would have had to stay in place, stopping the development of Goldman’s new HQ, or at least compromising it

What is interesting about an ugly office building on the Farringdon Road, derelict and boarded up (pictured below)? If I tell you it involves Goldman Sachs and important art, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.


 
Goldman Sachs got planning permission in 2005 to turn this site – and later an additional neighbouring building – into its European headquarters, covering 54,000 square metres and sitting almost next to its current building on Fleet Street.

The only problem was that a – frankly ugly but nonetheless listed – ceramic mural by Dorothy Annan adorned the Farringdon Road facade. The mural, made up of nine porridge-coloured panels which describe in semi-abstract the ‘wonders of communication as a heroic human endeavour’ (quote and picture below: spitalfieldslife.com) was listed in 2011 and would have had to stay in place, stopping the development, or at least compromising it. This was not pleasing to Goldman Sachs.

Pictured above: The first panel from Dorothy Annan’s mural on the Farringdon Road

Last September, the Vampire Squid was given permission to move the mural, and Bloomberg said then that ‘the murals will initially be stored and may eventually be displayed near the Guildhall School of Music.’

Read more: John Arlidge on meeting Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Passing by before Christmas, I spoke to one of the security guards who have been guarding the building for years now, standing silent sentry in what I imagine is the most boring job in the City of London. He told me that the murals had been moved and put into storage, hence the black fence, which suggests that work is about to begin.

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