FuturePlan

The first ten-year phase  
of FuturePlan, the  
Museum's programme of  
restoration, redesign and  
reinterpretation, ended in  
2009. Over 40 capital  
projects have been  
accomplished at a cost of  
£120 million, transforming  
26,000 square metres of  
Museum space and making  
the building AND  
collections accessible  
to a wider public.  
'Samson Slaying a Philistine' by Giovanni Bologna
Left: 'Samson Slaying a
Philistine', by Giovanni
Bologna, called Giambologna
(about 1562), made for the
herb garden of Francesco de'
Medici in Florence, purchased
with the assistance of the Art
Fund and now on display in the
beautifully restored Medieval &
Renaissance Galleries, the
Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery.




* FuturePlan Phase 1
(2000-2009)
 
 
 
FuturePlan Phase 2
 
 
 
FuturePlan is radically recasting V&A collections to evoke the
cultures from which the objects come, bringing clarity to the
physical space of the Museum, and re-emphasising the quality of
the original building.

The first FuturePlan project was an elegant redesign of the entrance steps to incorporate a ramp, enabling physical access. The latest completed project, the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, ensured that the stories of these great collections could be enjoyed to the full.

This year was record-breaking, with four major gallery projects opened to critical acclaim.

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery

The first gallery for Buddhist sculpture in the UK, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery, opened on 29 April 2009. This day-lit space presents the V&A's collection of Buddhist masterworks, which have been reassessed and reinterpreted in the context of new findings.

Curators made some unexpected discoveries: a new reading of the Tibetan inscription on the base of a seated Buddha revealed that the sculpture was commissioned by the religious tutor of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong (ruled 1736–1795). A team from the University of Chicago recently identified two of the V&A's sculptures as originating from major Chinese Buddhist cave-temple site in Xiangtangshan, in the

Hebei province of China. By displaying Buddhist Sculpture from different regions of Asia in the new gallery, we encourage comparative studies of how images were made and how teachings travelled.

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

One of the most important private collections ever gifted to Britain was moved from Somerset House to the V&A. On 30 June 2009 it opened in its new galleries at the heart of the V&A, overlooking the John Madejski Garden.

The new displays, grouped according to material, incorporate every gold box and enamel portrait miniature, and a very high percentage of the gold and silver, and Italian mosaics in the collection. Other pieces have been loaned to the houses for which they were originally commissioned, including National Trust properties Dunham Massey, Cheshire, and Belton House, Lincolnshire.

Informed by V&A research into audiences and interpretation, audio points in the galleries complement the interpretive text and provide commentaries on topics such as 'Arthur and

Rosalinde Gilbert as collectors' and 'Frederick the Great's gold boxes within the collection'.

Audio points are controlled by touch screens which incorporate hot points enabling use by visually impaired visitors. A newly commissioned film demonstrates the process of making Florentine hardstone mosaic.

    'This reintroduction to a stunning collection after five years in absence is an absolute delight. You will want to go, and go again, many times'. Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday

Ceramics Galleries Phase I

The first phase of the Ceramics Galleries, opened on 18 September 2009, plots the production and design of ceramics through time and across the globe, from a Japanese earthenware jar of about 3000BC to a contemporary site-specific installation 'Signs & Wonders' by Edmund de Waal (2009). They enable 'a matchless scholarly collection to seduce a general audience' (Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent).

For a gallery devoted to ceramic making processes, the curatorial team undertook research in European factories such as Spode, Sèvres, Nymphenburg and Wedgwood and travelled further afield to study and document ceramic processes in Japan (Raku) and China (Jingdezhen). Much research was directed towards a part-reconstruction of the studio of celebrated 20th-century potter Dame Lucie Rie.

The galleries were designed by Stanton Williams to sit within the original Aston Webb envelope of the Museum building. They feature a studio for artists in residence, and a workshop where visitors can create their
own works.

The first phase of the galleries has been funded by a lead donation from the Headley Trust and Sir Timothy Sainsbury, together with generous support from the Ronald and Rita McAulay Foundation, the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Lydia and Manfred Gorvy and the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.

Right: Edmund de Waal at work on his installation 'Signs & Wonders' in the dome at the centre of the Ceramics Galleries.

Below right: A central interactive display that introduces ceramic materials and processes from clay to glazes in the Ceramics Galleries, the Timothy Sainsbury Gallery.

Far right: 'Objects of Luxury - a display of masterpieces of French porcelain from the 18th century', in the temporary display space in the Ceramics Galleries.

'Objects of Luxury - a display of masterpieces of French porcelain from the 18th century'
    'flooded with light, full of sophisticated treasures, the v&a's
new galleries are a revelation.' Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

Medieval & Renaissance Galleries

The 'Stunning. Spectacular. And even awesome' Medieval & Renaissance Galleries (Waldemar Januszczak, Sunday Times) opened on 2 December 2009, unprecedented in their interpretation of European art and design from 300 to 1600. Each of the ten galleries is a self-contained story within the chronology, inviting multiple visits.

The curatorial team aimed to break down divisions between the Medieval and Renaissance periods, and bring the whole of Europe, sacred and secular, North and South, together in the displays. The Medieval age is presented not as murky and mysterious but, similarly to the Renaissance, imbued with light and knowledge – a feeling reflected aesthetically and intellectually in the spacious galleries.

The project involved over seven years' work for the Museum team and the designers McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA). It took two years to build at a cost of over £31.75 million. Generous individuals donated in excess of £20 million and a grant of £9.75 million was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). MUMA devised a multitude of design solutions. These include creating a gallery from previously

unused external space by connecting two buildings with specially designed glass beams, and incorporating a lift to provide easy access to all levels.

The 2000 objects on display 'offer rare access to the sense of wonder' and 'satisfy appetites for physical quality and moral substance' (Stephen Bayley, The Guardian). They range from intricate works such as the enamel casket dedicated to St Thomas Becket (about 1180) to grand sculpture by artists such as Donatello, and Pindar's House (1600), a large timber framed house-front that survived the Great Fire of London.

Top right: Mark Jones with John Brown, driver of the crane which did the heavy lifting for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries.

Bottom right: Ceiling from Casa Maffi (about 1500) by Alessandro Pampurino, from Cremona, Italy, and underneath Seated Virgin and Child (about 1415) by Circle of Lorenzo Ghiberti in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, the Robert H. Smith Gallery.

Right: Painted limestone figures, possibly Saint Ambrose and Saint Gregory, Verona (about 1320-50) in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, the Simon Sainsbury Gallery.

Ceramics Galleries 'Making Ceramics', featuring a display and interactives that explain the process of designing and making teapots, the Timothy Sainsbury Gallery.

In the background the only Italian Renaissance altarpiece that can be seen outside Italy (altarpiece and tabernacle about 1400, chapel about 1494'1500) in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, the Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery.

The deep purples and blues of the French stained glass set the colourtones for this dramatic gallery devoted to Gothic Art in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery.

View down through contemporary ceramics in the McAulay Gallery, and beyond into the Grand Entrance.

Ceramics link bridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Painted limestone figures Ceramics Galleries 'Making Ceramics' In the background the only Italian Renaissance altarpiece
that can be seen outside Italy (altarpiece and tabernacle
about 1400, chapel about 1494'1500) in the Medieval &
Renaissance Galleries, the Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery. The deep purples and blues of the French stained glass set the colourtones for this dramatic gallery devoted
to Gothic Art in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery View down through contemporary ceramics in the McAulay Gallery, and beyond into the Grand Entrance. Ceramics link bridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects









Clockwise from top right:
The John Madejski Garden,

The world's oldest dated carpet,
The Ardabil carpet (completed in 1539-40) in the Jameel Gallery,

The Members' Room,

Plaster model of 'The Sluggard' (1885) by Frederic Lord Leighton, lent by the Royal Academy in the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries,

Architecture Gallery
   the Members' Room
 

What next?

FuturePlan Phase II (2010–2019) continues the momentum of FuturePlan that has transformed the Museum into the elegant and enjoyable place it is today. With a strategic and sequential approach, Phase II has a number of overarching ambitions. There are plans to create better access to stored collections, build new galleries for temporary exhibitions, open out the existing V&A building into the public realm of Exhibition Road, and restore some of the beautiful Victorian spaces of the Museum such as the South Courts, which have been concealed for decades. The completion of these major projects will create space for new galleries of priority collections of photographs, fashion, 20th and 21st-century art and design, and Asian pictorial art.

Work is already underway to improve access to stored collections. The second phase of the Ceramics Galleries, the Ceramics Study Galleries opening in June 2010, presents over 26,000 ceramic objects in dense visible storage displays that visitors will be able to approach as an encyclopaedia of ceramic production. There are also plans for a new centre for the study and conservation of textiles and fashion at the V&A's London Olympia site, Blythe House.

This will offer an extensive resource for students, scholars and the creative industries.

Projects complementing the main programme for FuturePlan Phase II include the cleaning of the Museum façade. This took place during the damp winter weather as specialist masonry restorers DBR (London) Ltd worked carefully to remove over 100 years of dirt from the Museum's west façade on Exhibition Road. The façade (1909) was designed by architect Aston Webb (1849–1930) and incorporates statues of ten British craftsmen.

The 1,984 square metres of Portland stone facing and sculpture were unveiled in April 2010, revealing the building's original radiance. This work was generously funded by supporters including The Wolfson Foundation, The Zochonis Charitable Trust and The Basil Samuel Charitable Trust.

Top row: The Aston Webb façade on Exhibition Road before
and after cleaning.

Middle left: Original Victorian roof structure above the South Courts - currently hidden from public view.

Middle right: Known as the Boiler House Yard - the only remaining site at the V&A which has not been developed.

Bottom: Damage in Cast Courts