National Portrait Gallery plans graphics overhaul

The National Portrait Gallery will discuss a complete overhaul of its graphics and signage at a meeting with architect Piers Gough this month.

Gough’s practice CZWG is refurbishing the National Portrait Gallery’s nineteenth century gallery, which will open on 12 September.

“We need to look at graphics for this gallery, but the discussion will have wider implications,” says gallery director Charles Saumarez Smith.

“We need an overall approach to our design,” he comments, adding that the signage needs improving and that he is in favour of a graphics masterplan.

Saumarez Smith’s statement follows the unveiling last week of plans for a 14m extension, designed by architects Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones.

The new design will incorporate a lecture theatre, two new galleries and a roof-top café. It is “far too early” to consider graphics for the café, according to Saumarez Smith.

It is hoped that the extension will be completed by 2000. The NPG has applied for 8m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project.

The original National Portrait Gallery was designed by Ewan Christian and opened in 1896.

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