Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Shopping around

  • Comment

Robert Venturi is in for a surprise next time he visits London. The 'collegiatestyle' bookshop he designed for the National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing has been expanded and completely redesigned. 'It was a lovely shop, ' a spokesperson says. 'It had a lovely feel to it, but it was actually very inflexible and hard to find your way around.' Heavy timber shelves were ideal for serious art books, but allegedly less appropriate for the range of merchandise which generates the income to make free admission possible - favourites last Christmas included the sumptuous velvet van Eyck slippers and devore scarves with patterns derived from Holbein's Ambassadors. Design consultancy 20/20 has expanded the trading area by reclaiming foyer space, and demolishing the raised reading room, complete with lecterns, which Venturi envisaged as a space for people to feel cherished ('research' showed that visitors found the space 'intimidating').

Bright lights, modern dipole units and a more user-friendly layout have also been introduced. The Sainsburys gave the project their blessing with a cheery 'We are retailers, after all.' Mr Venturi, who gave the National an outstandingly successful building, has not been consulted.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.