Victoria and Albert London Museum’s Modern Redesign Called ‘FuturePlan’

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is transforming itself with FuturePlan by revitalising visitor amenities and rearranging the display of collections. The V&A is being ushered into the 21st century, collaborating with the best designers and architects in applying modern design and innovation to the spirit of the museum.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s in London FuturePlan project includes redevelopment of the Exhibition Road entrance, the Clothworkers’ Centre, Room 40, Cast Courts and creation of new Furniture galleries & the Europe 1600 – 1800 galleries. All these projects are funded by grants from generous donors and well wishers.

Exhibition Road entrance

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Exhibition Road project includes development of pedestrianised Exhibition Road, a new entrance into the Museum, a public courtyard for art installations and new galleries for the exhibitions. From over 110 designers across the world, Amanda Levete Architects have won the international design competition to guide this important development with projected budget of £35 million. The V&A Museum, led by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will contribute to the project, as part of its ongoing Future Plan.

The Clothworkers’ Centre

The V&A has collected the most extensive works of textiles and fashion, ranging from historical textiles to modern-day haute couture. The Clothworkers’ Centre at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia will be dedicated to study, protect, and store the textiles and fashion assortments under one roof to enhance the long-standing care of the collection.

The new and redesigned Conservation studios, Study Centre and a Seminar Room by Haworth Tompkins architects will offer improved facilities and increased access to visitors and researchers to study and enjoy. The original majestic entrance to Blythe House will be recreated, providing easy access.

This development under the Victoria and Albert London Museum’s FuturePlan will get a generous lead grant from the Clothworkers’ Foundation and will be named ‘The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study and Conservation’.

The Furniture Galleries

Scheduled to open in December 2012, The Furniture Galleries will be housed in galleries 133 to 135, alongside the Ceramics Study Galleries.

These new galleries will showcase the V&A Museum’s exceptional collection of international and British furniture from the 15th century to the current times. They will focus on techniques on the design and manufacture of furniture for over 600 years.

This Victoria and Albert London Museum’s FuturePlan project has been fully funded by an anonymous donor.

Room 40 (Fashion)

Room 40, in the past known as the Octagon Court, currently houses the V&A museum’s fashion collection. It’s refurbishment under V&A London Museum’s FuturePlan will update the historic character of the gallery with a new lighting design and the restoration of the gallery’s mosaic flooring. This renovation is an essential project which will re-establish the gallery to showcase both permanent collection pieces and short-term exhibitions.

Fashion, Room 40 will reopen in Spring 2012 as part of the V&A’s commitment to fashion within the community programme.

The Cast Courts

The Cast Courts in the V&A Museum are among the most admired galleries and are home for some of the Museum’s biggest and most appreciated objects, such as the casts of Michelangelo’s David and Trajan’s Column, displayed in 2 pieces which if put as one would attain 35.6 metres height.

V&A Museum’s FuturePlan for renovation of Cast Courts include reinstating the Victorian architectural niceties of the galleries, restoring the tiled flooring and opening of archways flanked by the galleries, which will bring them up to the standard of the 21st Century at the same time as retaining Victorian charm.

Julian Harrap Architects, the lead consultants renowned for restoring historic structures, will provide a wonderful stage for the V&A’s collection of casts.

Europe 1600 – 1800 Galleries

These galleries as per the V&A Museum’s FuturePlan, will showcase some of the most splendid and intricate installations of art and design of the European masterpieces of the era 1600-1800.

Spectacular examples of fashion and textiles, prints and books, painting and sculpture, furniture and metalwork, ceramics and glass will be places in the stunning new galleries, opening in 2014.

Themes in the Europe 1600 – 1800 galleries will include Religion, war and politics; Travel, trade and migration; Science and the natural world; Craft, manufacture and design; Leisure, learning and sociability; Fashion, performance and etiquette; Empires, courts and cities.

The Heritage Lottery Fund have pledged their generous support to develop new Europe 1600 – 1800 galleries for the Victoria and Albert London Museum’s ‘FuturePlan’.

FuturePlan, the V&A’s continuous programme of transformation started in 2001, revitalising visitor conveniences and redisplaying collections with the help of the best designers and architects, bringing contemporary design and modernization to the Museum.

Mary J. Gibson

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