In May 2008 we won an invited competition, which included Sarah Featherstone Architects and MUF, for the design of the Women’s Amenities off the Grand Entrance hall at the V&A.
The purpose of the museum’s foundation was to raise standards in and promote fine and decorative arts; craftsmanship and materiality are therefore a very important part of the design.
A new stone datum unifies the space – a heavy ‘base’ into which the visitor descends down a new staircase. A light vaulted ceiling works with the rhythm of the existing windows and exaggerates the newly revealed generous height of the space. Brass fittings, trims and balustrade add subtle, jewellery-like accents to the monochrome material palette.
We created a vaulted and fragmented canvas to accentuate the work of Felice Varini, a Swiss artist known for his geometric perspective-localized paintings. The ceiling is the main canvas for the installation – fragments of ultramarine are found in the most unexpected places. The fragments come together to form a hidden shape, which is ‘revealed’ in the basin mirror.