Our Q&A with Marco Brambilla 

The director and installation artist born in Milan and based in New York City is behind video works such as Civilization (2008), the movie that shows in the elevator of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

What inspires you in London?

The Serpentine Gallery is always a wonderful place to experience art. The setting in Kensington Gardens is great for quiet contemplation and lets the work on view really communicate without being coloured by the energy of a city. To me, part of London’s charm is the low-rise nature of the skyline. I’m not a huge fan of the new additions like the Gherkin or the Shard.


Has any building ever inspired a particular work?


Yes, the Barbican Centre and interior of the Hayward Gallery. The Seventies’ Brutalist architecture conjures up all sorts of memories from my childhood.

The early YBA shows in London were especially vibrant, I remember when Jay Jopling opened White Cube in Hoxton Square it felt like the beginning of a movement.

What's unique about London's art scene?


It’s international but there is a sense of community, more so than New York. It’s not unusual seeing artists like Tracy Emin, Gary Hume and Harland Miller attending each other’s openings.

Perfect weekend in London?


Brunch in Maida Vale, an afternoon at the Serpentine in Hyde Park, then sushi in Marylebone at Defune. I like drinks at the bar in Durant’s or Chiltern Firehouse. 

What do you always travel with?


A black suit and white dress shirt, and my electric toothbrush.

What do you always do in London?


I always tour the galleries and museums,

White Cube, The Serpentine, Hayward and Tate Modern especially. 

What can't you leave London without?

The Breakfast Blend tea from Fortnum and Mason.


Hidden gem?

I love the courtyard at Somerset House, Oliver Peyton used to have a restaurant there called The Admiralty and I have fond memories of that place and time, now I love going to see shows at the Courtauld such as the outstanding Egon Schiele show.