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ZMMA bags V&A's Europe galleries contest

The V&A has announced that Zombory-Moldovan Moore Architects (ZMMA) will design its new Europe 1600-1800 galleries - the largest gallery refurbishment in the second phase of the V&A’s FuturePlan revamp

The project, set to complete in 2014, will see the reworking of seven galleries and will complete the restoration of the entire front wing of the museum.

The redesign will see the 1970s cladding stripped back to reveal the original Aston Webb architecture, reclaiming over 350 m² of unused display space. Previously hidden windows will be reinstated, and the architects will also introduce sustainable, low energy climatic control within the galleries.

Around 1,000 objects will be shown including textiles, fashion, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, prints and books created for the period’s most important figures, including Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Frederick the Great and Catherine the Great.

Moira Gemmill, V&A’s director of projects, design and estate, said: ‘We chose ZMMA for this project because of their inspired response to our brief.

‘As well as covering all the practical considerations of displaying sensitive and precious objects in appropriate conditions, their concept emphasises the luxuriousness of the collection and theatricality of the period.’

Adam Zombory-Moldovan of the Old Street-based ZMMA said: ‘Like so many visitors, we are seduced by the glamour and the academic pre-eminence of the V&A.

‘We are enormously proud to have been chosen to work with the curators and staff to bring about the transformation of these galleries which will give new life to the public’s enjoyment of this astonishingly rich period of European design, art and culture in the V&A’s collection.”

Europe 1600-1800 has received nearly £4.8 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

ZMMA has recently completed the restoration of the Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, which celebrated the work of Victorian artist, George Frederic Watts.

One of Watts’s most celebrated works, Hope is the favourite painting of US President, Barack Obama having been the subject of a sermon by his former pastor Jeremiah Wright which set him on the path to the White House.

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