V&A design and exhibitions director – and architect – David Bickle is to leave the museum and return to private architecture practice
Bickle, who was a partner at Hawkins\Brown Architects for more than two decades, will depart from his role as director of design, exhibitions and FuturePlan at the V&A in April.
He left Hawkins\Brown in 2015 to join the South Kensington museum, where he has overseen the completion of the new Exhibition Road Quarter by Amanda Levete Architects and the development of a new members’ room by Carmody Groarke (pictured below).
Bickle, who came into replace the late Moira Gemmill, has also been involved in the delivery of Kengo Kuma’s V&A Dundee, which is set to open later this year.
News of his departure comes on the same day the museum launched the hunt for an architect to design a £25 million collections centre in east London.
This project will be an offshoot of the museum’s V&A East outpost inside the former 2012 Olympic Games press centre – which is being transformed into a commercial space by Hawkins\Brown.
V&A deputy director Tim Reeve said: ’In his time as director of design, exhibitions and FuturePlan at the V&A, David has overseen a number of major projects, including completion of the Europe Galleries, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, and the development of the new Members Room and V&A Shop.
‘Away from South Kensington, his involvement with the new V&A Gallery in Shenzhen, China, at V&A Dundee, and with our ambitious plans for V&A East has been invaluable. We will miss him and wish him well for the next stage of his career.’
During Bickle’s tenure, at least six members of the design department, including the head of design, left the V&A, leading to a restructure of the studio.
Bickle told the AJ last year that he had confidence in his decisions at the V&A. ’I don’t think I’ve made any mistakes,’ he said in August. ‘The museum’s at a transition, at quite an ambitious point, where we’re designing, delivering and thinking about a whole host of major capital projects. That suits me and my experience particularly well.’
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