The art collector David Roberts (1958) founded DRAF, (David Roberts Art Foundation) in 2007 in Fitzrovia (London) to stimulate creativity between artists, curators, students and the public in the field of contemporary art. This not-for-profit centre moved in 2012 to a 19th century furniture factory on Mornington Crescent.
David Roberts grew up in Scotland into a traditional shipbuilding family. but after studying economics, he went into the real estate business. In 2001, he founded ‘Edinburgh House Estates’ of which he is CEO.
He started collecting art in the nineties, initially for his buildings, but quickly developed a keen eye and interest, propelling him into establishing an important collection of 20th century British and international classic and contemporary artists, (including Charles Avery, Franz West, Theaster Gates, Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, Mona Hatoum, Soll Lewitt, Tobias Rehberger, Yinka Shonibare and YBA).
Though this collection is an important aspect of the Foundation, David Roberts, who prefers to stay out of the limelight, rather channels DRAF to be a creative laboratory for art and artists (young and established), curators, students and the public. The large industrial building in Mornington Crescent, (1500 sq. m) provides a space for exhibitions, performances and artists in residence, alongside the opportunity to study and research (library and collection). DRAF delivers workshops, provides commissions and initiates discussions and programs for curators and artists, all in order to stimulate an open mind, new ideas and ultimately to push the borders of art and creativity further.