As mentioned in a previous post, we have decided to move Studio Mumbai‘s structure from its original location (the National Art Library staircase – where instead we’ll be building a stunning book tower by Rintala Eggertsson Architects) to the V&A Cast Courts. Bijoy Jain, director of Studio Mumbai, happened to be in London this week, so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take him (and collaborator, Michael Anastassiades) on a little visit to the Cast Courts to try and work out where they might like to build their structure.
Their commission will be sited in the ‘Italian’ Court (Room 46b) which is home to the V&A’s famous cast of Michelangelo’s David – notorious for the Queen Victoria and fig leaf incident. The room is currently closed to the public as it is being used as a preparation area for the adjoining Medieval & Reniassance Galleries (opening at the end of year). Due to all the sheeting, wooden frames, pallets and so on, you can squint and almost imagine that you’ve been transported to a Renaissance sculptor’s workshop. We were taken into the Italian Court by Melissa Hamnett, Curator of Sculpture, who looks after the operational day-to-day management of spaces such as these which fall under the jurisdiction of the Sculpture Department. It’s important to involve colleagues such as Melissa in all of these early discussions with the architects, to ensure that the designs of the structures take into account factors such as visitor circulation, sensitivity to the surrounding galleries, and of course to ensure that none of the Museum objects are put at risk.