NHM unwraps gem gallery by Real Studios

London’s Natural History Museum unveils The Vault tomorrow, a permanent gallery designed by Real Studios to display some of the world’s most precious treasures. The exhibition design group has created a steel-clad door, glass resin floor tiles and recessed light beams to mimic the interior of a jewellery box. Shafts of light from slots cut into the ceiling bounce off the showcases of gems, crystals, metals and meteorites to create a ‘dazzling’ effect.

‘The concept is to mimic the faceting of the gems,’ says Real Studios director Yvonne Golds. ‘It’s meant to feel like you’re walking into a diamond-like space.’ Five highlight cases line the gallery walls to exhibit the most precious items (see concept drawing, pictured), while the world famous Aurora collection of coloured diamonds stands alone behind high security glass.

Real Studios co-director Alistair McCaw explains, ‘The hardest thing, when displaying such small items, is to create a setting that allows the gems to speak for themselves and doesn’t overpower them. We’ve tried to create an intimate and magical space which emphasises the high value, rarity and beauty of the objects, presenting them in the best light possible.’

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