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Museum of London seeks West Smithfield exhibition designer

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The Museum of London is recruiting a team to design a subterranean gallery within its new £180 million West Smithfield headquarters

The winning team will create a Past Time exhibition within the ‘vast, atmospheric’ vaults (pictured) beneath the historic 1883 General Market building in West Smithfield, which Stanton Williams and Asif Khan are transforming into a new home for the museum.

The £7.5 million project is the first gallery to be commissioned for the venue which will contain a collection of over six million items showcasing a 2,000-year-history of London. The 2,500m² subterranean gallery could be the only such space in the world displaying a live railway as Thameslink passes through part of the site.

The exhibition will explore London in Time, London Life, and The Physical City, while also featuring the Cheapside Hoard, a collection of 16th and 17th-century jewellery discovered in 1912.

The museum said it wanted teams to ‘put forward designs for an object-rich, narrative-driven, immersive, theatrical and interactive display. The objects on display will be drawn from the London Collection – ranging from the remains of some of the most ancient Londoners to costume, social and working history to art and photography.’

Stanton Williams and Asif Khan, working with conservation expert Julian Harrap, won the contest to design the museum’s new home in July 2017.

It will be constructed on the 25,000m² West Smithfield site, which comprises a series of vacant, mostly Victorian, buildings. The plans involve retaining many of these buildings, including a dome. It is scheduled to open in 2024.

The existing Smithfield Market, which traces its history back nearly a thousand years, will continue unaffected by the proposals.

Plans to transform the current Museum of London site into a £288 million concert hall by Diller Scofidio + Renfro were unveiled in January.

The design contract will cover exhibition lead design, 3D design, lighting design, graphic design, and the concept design of mechanical interactive exhibits. A shortlist will be selected this summer prior to the announcement of an overall winner.

The deadline for applications is 29 April.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

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