Shortlist for V&A East Museum’s Why We Make galleries



June 27, 2022

Today, I’m delighted to reveal the shortlist of design teams in the running to design V&A East Museum’s Why We Make collection galleries, which will open in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2025. The galleries will explore making for the future – and we’re looking for an exciting team of designers, architects and creatives to design (and deliver!) them. We received a brilliant response to the first round of our design competition, launched in April 2022, and we have chosen the following design teams to go forward to the next stage:

  • Citizens Design Bureau with Hayatsu Architects, Neba Sere and Rose Nordin
  • Freehaus x IDK + Bergini
  • JA Projects with A Practice for Everyday Life and Larry Achiampong
  • OMMX with HATO
  • Studio C102 + Mobile Studio Architects + Manijeh Verghese with Sthuthi Ramesh
Image showing East Bank Masterplan, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Image courtesy of London Legacy Development Corporation

We’re so excited about the shortlisted teams. They reflect innovative and interdisciplinary collaborations and both established and emerging talent, which is what we were hoping for – we want to be pushed with new ideas and approaches. We can’t wait for them to submit their responses to our brief and to see their early concept visuals next month – we’ll appoint the winning team later this summer.

We’re looking for a galley design scheme that is dynamic, active and captivating. It must be grounded in sustainable practice, as well as audience-led, responsive, coherent, and welcoming. We want to embrace new approaches to display, and be excited by inclusive and immersive ideas that will work for our target audiences – particularly young people, including those from the four Olympic Boroughs – and welcome those that have previously felt museums might not be for them.

People look out of a window across a river in a possible view from V&A East
Internal render view of V&A East Museum at Stratford Waterfront, designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey © O’Donnell + Tuomey / Ninety90, 2018

Across our two V&A East sites, we’re celebrating artists, designers, makers and making, and giving unprecedented direct access to the V&A’s objects and archives. In V&A East Museum’s Why We Make galleries, we’re focusing on global stories of creativity that address the biggest challenges and subjects of our time. Our galleries explore how creative practitioners give purpose to their work to change the world for the better. The design of our Why We Make galleries will become a part of this central story of making, so it’s critical that we work with exceptional design talent to achieve our ambitions.

A young person with incredible hair looks to the left
Preston Bus Station #87 (from Photograph from the series ‘Preston Bus Station’, 2011 – 2018) by Jamie Hawkesworth © Jamie Hawkesworth

At V&A East, we want to create opportunities for young people within the creative industries. Newham, our new home, has the youngest and most diverse population in the UK, with more than 100 languages spoken by residents. To truly connect with and represent this audience, we need to include them in our decision making. To do this, our V&A East Youth Collective, a rolling annual paid opportunity for young east Londoners to help shape V&A East, will be involved in the selection of the gallery design team – and will be part of the design process throughout. The Collective will work with the design team to review ideas, give feedback and collaborate at key stages throughout the project. We hope this will give our young Collective valuable insight into the design sector and creative process, and help them build new skills to take into their future careers.

I can’t wait to receive the design teams’ responses and to update you on who will be designing our Why We Make galleries later this year.

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