One of the world's most significant new museum projects, V&A East will comprise two sister sites currently under construction in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Opening at Here East in 2024, V&A East Storehouse offers a new immersive experience, taking visitors behind the scenes and providing unprecedented public access to V&A collections. A short walk across the park, opening in 2025, V&A East Museum celebrates global creativity and making relevant to today’s world. Both sites are part of East Bank, the Mayor of London's £1.1 billion Olympic legacy project, which will create a new arts, innovation and education hub in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
V&A East builds on the V&A's long-standing heritage in east London and our founding mission to make the arts accessible to all. V&A East is a new champion of creativity for the 21st century. Through the lens of makers and making, we will focus on how artists and designers work to transform our world for the better. We will platform diverse, global stories addressing the most pressing issues of our time and champion the pioneering and radical visionaries of the past and present to inspire future makers and critical thinkers.
As a platform for new kinds of creative excellence, V&A East will strive to shift the canon and celebrate work that truly demonstrates the dynamism and complexity of global creativity. We will showcase excellence wherever it comes from and work to highlight under-represented movements and voices by presenting a diverse range of perspectives to advance cultural conversations.
Exploring global making histories and the myriad motivations to make will unite all our programming: from collection galleries to the blockbuster exhibitions focused on global visionaries; from interdisciplinary partnerships across the East Bank campus and beyond to rich and dynamic public programmes, which will activate V&A East and provide a platform for conversation, collaboration and inspiring encounters with artists, designers and makers from around the world.
More than just a museum or collections store, it will be a creative campus and social space embedded within its local community, focusing on equipping young people with the interest, knowledge, and skills they need to flourish creatively.
Connecting with communities
Fundamental to V&A East is empowering young people and opening pathways into the creative industries. Highlights of our pre-opening initiatives include the V&A East Youth Collective Programme. This rolling 6-month paid opportunity for locals aged between 16 and 25 plays a key role in shaping strategic decisions in the making of V&A East. As part of an ongoing programme of collaborative research with VARI, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE has been appointed as V&A East's first Youth Workers in Residence to help shape V&A East's future youth programming. RESOLVE has been working with organisations to run a series of creative workshops exploring young people's connection to their local area as an opportunity for creative practice. Their work will culminate in a series of installations, designed and delivered on locations across the Olympic boroughs in collaboration with the young people.
Creative agency A Vibe Called Tech, whose work explores the intersection of black creativity, culture and innovation, has joined the V&A East project as part of a new creative residency supported by Google Arts and Culture. They will collaborate with young people on a series of digital content experiments that will inform V&A East's evolving creative programme.
V&A East Storehouse
Designed by New York architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro with support from UK based architects Austin-Smith:Lord, V&A East Storehouse is a 16,000m2 purpose-built home for over 250,000 objects, 350,000 library books and 1,000 archives. Offering an entirely new museum experience, V&A East Storehouse will take visitors on a journey across time, through self-guided tours and changing displays. The Storehouse's programme will explore why objects are collected, how they are cared for, conserved and displayed and will reveal the latest research emerging from the collections. Further spaces within the centre will host pop-up displays, workshops, performances and screenings alongside live encounters with the museum's work – from conservation and research to exhibition preparation. This new model builds on the continued success of The Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, which will be relocated to the new centre from Blythe House in west London, where a significant proportion of our collection is currently stored.
From the oldest objects in the V&A's collection, including a pair of ancient Egyptian woven shoes to the smallest, such as 17th century dress pins and exquisite buttons made by celebrated 20th century studio potter, Lucie Rie, the Storehouse will be interspersed with colossal architectural fragments and room sets. Visitors can see the only complete Frank Lloyd Wright interior outside of the US – his 1930s office for American businessman, Edgar J. Kaufmann, revel in an exquisite 15th century carved and gilded wooden ceiling from the now lost Torrijos Palace near Toledo in Spain, and enjoy an original example of the 'Frankfurt Kitchen' designed by the Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, an ingenious innovation in domestic design developed in Frankfurt during the 1920s.
Alongside displays of collection objects the Storehouse will also be a place to encounter treasures from the V&A's Archives of Art and Design and Theatre and Performance Archive collections, which offer great insights into artists, designers and performers' working practices. These include the archives of Glastonbury Festival and Talawa Theatre Company, the newly acquired Sir Kenneth Grange Archive, charting the extraordinary 60-year career of the designer who has designed everything from Kodak cameras to Kenwood Mixers and the TX1 Black Cab, as well as items from singer-songwriter PJ Harvey's Archive, including her first electric guitar, originally stolen and only recently returned to her and gifted to the V&A.
V&A East Museum
Designed by Dublin-based architects O'Donnell + Tuomey, the five-storey V&A East Museum spans about 7,000 sqm and will offer welcoming spaces to socialise, as well as major exhibitions, festivals, commissions, installations, live performances, pop-ups and late-night events.
The main exhibition hall will present major shows celebrating the leading artists, designers and performers of our time. Two collection galleries will explore global making with new acquisitions, commissions and live activations presented alongside collection displays. The galleries will also include stories of east London's creative and manufacturing heritage, spotlighting local makers past and present alongside a creative studio for both drop-in and pre-booked activities. An installation and events space on the top floor will be the focal point for V&A East's global partnerships programme, hosting interdisciplinary collaborations, new commissions and events.
In the galleries, objects drawn from across time and space will come together in a thematic framework exploring attitudes and agendas for making in the twenty-first century. Collection highlights include artist Leigh Bowery's subversive costumes for Michael Clark’s 1987 ballet Because We Must and experiments in portraiture from photographers Maud Sulter and Shadi Ghadirian to surrealist artist Claude Cahun and Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola. Large-scale textiles by makers from Eileen Gray to Cairo Tentmaker Hany 'Abd al-Kader to inmates at HMP Wandsworth, will be on display, as well as work by ground-breaking textile designers past and present, from botanical prints by the British-Trinidadian textile designer Althea McNish, to silk designs by 18th-century Spitalfields pioneer Anna Maria Garthwaite. Visitors will see garments by fashion designers Asha Sarabhai, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo, contemporary streetwear, and future-facing product and architectural design, from the Fairphone and Open Desk to bamboo architecture by Bali-based Ibuku, champions of sustainable, indigenous practice.
Reflecting V&A East's approach to collecting, new acquisitions destined for V&A East tell stories about contemporary creativity and motivations for making – whether as self-expression, creative experimentation or ways in which art, design and performance responds to broader social, cultural and environmental issues.
Portrait of Melissa Thompson by Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley
Part of Wiley's The Yellow Wallpaper series, this painting represents his ongoing practice, which subverts historic European portraiture traditions, to elevate sitters he encounters on the street. His work aims to challenge perceptions of blackness and raise important questions about race, identity and the politics of representation. This acquisition was made possible thanks to generous support from Art Fund and a legacy donation from Dr Philip da Costa.
Molly Goddard's hot pink Daria dress from her Autumn Winter 2019 collection – a design worn by Beyoncé in her 2020 visual album Black is King. The full-length dress is made of 61 metres of tulle net fabric and was the largest dress that Goddard had ever made at the time of creation. The dress is inspired by baby doll dresses and is exaggerated in scale, celebrating the power of femininity.
Ten photographic prints by British fashion photographer Jamie Hawkesworth from his 2011 – 2018 series, Preston Bus Station
The series, which builds on Hawkesworth's work as part of the Preston is my Paris collective, consists of portraits of passengers passing through the Grade II listed 1960s Brutalist station in Lancashire, which was threatened for demolition but later saved, with Hawkesworth's photographic series forming part of local campaigns. The V&A is the first UK institution to acquire Hawkesworth's work.
A glazed ceramic frieze made up of 48 individual tiles, Aunty, Mum and Me Talking About My Fabric Collection (2016) created by London-based artist Mawuena Kattah
Kattah made this Frieze, her first using clay, during a Ceramics Residency at the V&A. Her work draws upon her extensive personal archive of family photographs taken in Ghana, alongside more recent studio photographs of her family taken in London.
A visceral terracotta vessel, Itari by British-Nigerian artist Ranti Bam
Bam's organic and sculptural vessels push clay to its limits, with surfaces embellished with colours, patterns, and textures, as developed intuitively and inspired by the written word.
V&A East blog
Go behind-the-scenes of our new spaces, find out about the objects and stories we are researching and gathering for display, and meet the people from east London and around the world who are helping to shape V&A East.