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V&A creates 360-degree viewing spaces for visitors
The V&A runs an entrepreneurial project as it programmes to open up its vast stores of objects, creating dramatic 360-degree viewing spaces for the public to walk through.
The visitors will have access to large items which are normally kept in storage including Frank Lloyd Wright's plywood-panelled 1930s office for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J.Kaufmann, and the 15th century marquetry ceiling from the now-destroyed Altamira Palace near Toledo, Spain. Around 250,000 objects and 917 archives will be moved to east London.
On Thursday, the Museum gave more information of its plans, announcing that there will be two V&A East sites opening in 2023 on the London Olympic Park in Stratford: a museum and a collection and research centre in a cavernous building which was used as studio space for broadcasters during the Olympics and is now called Here East.
Tim Reeve, the V&A's deputy director, noted that the new space would revolutionise how the public could access, explore and experience the collection. It is a reinvention of what a museum store is. The New York-based architect, Liz Diller, has created designs based around the idea of the public entering the stores and the collection being "all around you, above you, below you, everywhere... and you have access to some of it", describing it as an immersive cabinet of curiosities. "There are other examples of archives where you can see a little bit, get a glimpse, but it has never been done this way before. The entire thing is built with the public in mind."
Furthermore, there will be opportunities for pop-up displays, workshops and performances as well as spaces for more rarely seen objects.
The stores could also display the V&A's 1824 Panorama of Rome, designed with the viewer in the centre of a large cylinder; and the 1920s Frankfurt Kitchen, the forerunner of modern fitted kitchens.
The five-storey building has been designed by architects Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey. The architects said it was an opportunity to open up the V&A's collection to all. "As a vital sourcebook for infinite creative possibilities, as a place where young people can develop their creative skills and critical thinking, and as a platform to interrogate the ideas of our time through the designed world past and present."
The V&A said the new museum would include a partnership with America's Smithsonian Institution. The plan is that the two organisations will co-curate displays which explore topical themes. There will also temporary exhibitions with one in four curated by the Smithsonian.
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