V&A Museum Ladies Amenities

London, UK

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.