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Futureproofing an industrial live-work space in London


Aritco’s HomeLift links the four floors of the home and workshop of one of the world’s most renowned printmakers

When internationally acclaimed artist  Norman Ackroyd installed an Aritco HomeLift in the Victorian industrial building that serves as both his home and studio in 2022, it gave him tremendous peace of mind.

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Back in 1983, he was living in an ordinary residential house in Clapham in the south of the  city, but he needed a spacious workshop as he makes traditional, handmade etchings using  antique printing presses. He found the perfect space—a virtually derelict warehouse  spanning four floors—in Bermondsey near to London Bridge, a central but run-down, semi industrial corner of the capital. There were holes in the ceiling, and just one electric point and  one tap on the ground floor, but it was a blank canvas and was in very sound condition.  

The windowless ground floor became a printing workshop that contains more cast iron  machinery than any other building in London. As the first floor was flooded with daylight, it  proved perfect for drawing and had plenty of space for storing his prints in archive chests.  Bedrooms and bathrooms took up the second floor and the top floor was converted into a  kitchen, living room, master bedroom and roof terrace.

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Over the course of four decades, galleries and museums across the world bought, sold and  commissioned Ackroyd’s etchings and watercolors. A string of skyscrapers including the  iconic Shard appeared across the skyline visible from his expansive, top floor living room, and  Bermondsey was gradually gentrified, becoming one of London’s cultural and gastronomic  hotspots.  


An elegant alternative to fifty stairs  

In 2021, one of Ackroyd’s friends, a prominent architect, installed an Aritco HomeLift and he  was impressed by its design, efficiency and the ease of installation. Measurements from the  brochure showed that it would fit perfectly next to the staircase with fifty steps that links the  four floors of his spectacular live-work space, future-proofing his home for the years to come.  

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“There’s no way I want to leave this place,” he explained. “Everything that keeps me sane is  here and I could never move.”

Once installed, the lift proved transformational. 

“It works as a wonderful freight lift as well as a human lift. You can actually get twenty to  thirty pictures in it. Heavy shopping can be brought up and I can bring rubbish down to the  front door. As the side of the lift is metal, I can even use it as a pin board using magnets. I can  pin up what I’m working on and look at it while I’m playing the piano.” 

“It’s fantastic. It’s one of the best things I’ve acquired,” he added. 

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