View into the dark tent

V&A Photography Centre

A place for engaging with one of the world's foremost collections of photography in the world's leading museum of design

DKA was appointed following a design competition to design a new photography centre for the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). The project forms part of an ambitious two-phased FuturePlan development project to dramatically reimagine the display of the photographic collection at the V&A. The first phase will open in October 2018.

DKA’s work on the project includes the refurbishment of Grade II listed galleries; the design of the gallery interiors; the creation of a range of bespoke display cases and architectural installations; and the layout design for the centre’s inaugural gallery displays.

The museum secured the Royal Photographic Society's collection in 2017 to add to its own which will make one of the most significant collections of photographs in the world. The Centre will be ground breaking for its scale and the variety of ways in which audiences will be able to engage with the collection.

The design celebrates the original features of the V&A’s nineteenth-century picture galleries, while creating a rich variation of atmosphere through the use of lighting, and clever climate control to ensure a stable environment for fragile artworks. A modular system of display cases that can be easily reconfigured will allow for greater flexibility and varied displays of a wide range of objects, from photographs to cameras, publications and archive materials, exploring the relationship between art and technology.

The Photography Centre will feature the ‘dark tent’, a multimedia projection and lecture space inspired by 19th century photographers’ travelling darkrooms. The centre will also feature a digital wall to show the most cutting-edge photographic imagery. The two installations bookend the history of photography and invite speculation on the medium’s future.

Of DKA’s winning design David Bickle, Director of Design, Exhibitions and FuturePlan at the V&A, said: “We were delighted with the quality and inventiveness of DKA’s submission for the V&A Photography Centre, which answered the brief in the most effective and creative way. DKA’s design fuses traditional gallery spaces with new interactive interventions that will completely revolutionise how visitors engage with the V&A’s photography collection.”

Project 
V&A Photography Gallery

Location
London, United Kingdom

Client
Victoria and Albert Museum

Size
600m2

Status
Live

Design Team
David Kohn, Jessica Lyons, Daniel Norman

Collaborators
Arup
Gardiner & Theobald
Currie & Brown
2D:3D
ME Construction
Florea
Tom Graham Workshop

View through the galleries from the dark tent
View down photography gallery
Entrance to the photography gallery
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