Ben Kelly Design creates new study interiors for Manchester Museum

“Surprising details” include seating with integrated book shelves and a video microscope capable of sharing images to Twitter.

The Study Manchester Museum view over stairs

Ben Kelly Design has worked on an interiors overhaul at the University of Manchester’s Manchester Museum – the largest university museum in the UK.

The consultancy has worked alongside Wilson Mason Architects, which has been restoring the Grade II listed Alfred Waterhouse building, originally designed in 1885 by the architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Ben Kelly Design has created a new space within the building called The Study, which comprises a research area filled with tools, resources and curiosities taken from the Museum’s collection of 4 million objects, a separate collections study centre for in-depth research and an exhibitions gallery.

Lamps linked to Twitter

According to BKD the design accommodates members of the public, students and academics and features contemporary furniture and materials, strong colour and “surprising details” such as seating with integrated bookshelves and reading lights and a table featuring a video microscope capable of sharing still images to Twitter.

Bespoke furniture includes cabinets, which have been grouped together to form a corridor of packed exhibits – a reference to Victorian display glazed cabinets.

The cabinets, chairs and communal tables have been given powder-coated metal frames and are bolted together in different arrangements.

BKD says: “Clusters of loose-fit furniture, objects, books and technology create a sense of intimacy, while a range of spaces, from shared tables and solo desks to comfortable, partially enclosed seating, give the visitor a range of spaces to choose from.”

Lilac, green and turquoise

Traditional library and reading room materials such as leather and desktop linoleum are offset with high vis and deep black Valchromat – a solid wood fibre board known for its strong colour.

A lilac, green and turquoise colour palette has been applied to original architectural features such as decorative plasterwork and delineates curatorial zones.

Wilson Mason Architects have made interventions into the building installing new roof lights and windows, and restoring original features such as ebony-black display cases that cluster around a central atrium.

The Study Manchester Museum BKD make tableThe Study Manchester Museum cabinets by BKDThe Study Manchester Museum desk lamps by BKDThe Study Manchester Museum Sense cabinetThe Study Manchester Museum BKD seating with integral bookcase

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