Measure twice, cut once

August 3, 2015

Our best selling exhibition of all time Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty closed this weekend, and whilst our visitor services staff may be secretly relieved to have the museum a little quieter, for the Fabric of India team this is a salutary moment: we are up next…  Our deadlines are no longer articulated by months but by weeks and days, and physical pieces of the exhibition start to materialise – the opening night is certainly no longer somewhere in the vagueness of the future.

To give the maximum number of people an opportunity to see our exhibitions, we open them for as long as possible. This necessitates a very short turn around times between shows during which teams converge onsite to frantically construct the setworks, install objects, graphics and lighting. In order to achieve all this in just a few weeks the exhibition sets are constructed offsite at the build contractor’s premises. They are then trucked to the museum and assembled; like a giant flat pack furniture kit.  There cannot be any mistake onsite. There is no time (or money) to change our minds about a design feature that has already been built and installed. As a consequence, and like  many construction projects, we request samples to check how materials really look, and commission prototypes of areas that are to visualise from plans. All being well the large scale prototypes are sufficient to be used in the final build.

Last week the team converged in a dark warehouse in leafy Kent to take a look at a whole host of samples and mock-ups.  We are really pleased with how things are looking, and whilst naturally we don’t want to spoil the surprise, we hope that these photos will intrigue and tempt you back to the V&A to see a very different kind of textile story.


Colours, finishes and effects
Lighting and labels







Text and lettering






(All images © Rosie Wanek)

About the author

August 3, 2015

I am a Senior Exhibitions Coordinator which means that I have a hand in the delivery of a wide variety of exhibitions showing at South Kensington and on tour to...

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2 comments so far, view or add yours


I cannot wait! The blog has been wonderful…anticipating the visit even more with each post.

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