The Victoria & Albert Museum opens its Sacred Silver and Stained Glass gallery tomorrow, following an 18-month design project by museum exhibition specialist Ronayne Design.
Consultancy founder John Ronayne, who is also the designer behind the V&A’s existing silver galleries, was appointed to the project in 2003, following a six-way pitch.
The starting point, he says, was to create an ambience that was suitable for the collections which would also allow him to light the stained glass to best effect. He joined the gallery’s two long rooms with a 4m arch opening, to form a ‘processional nave’. Flanking the space is a series of showcases which serve as ‘side chapels’, he explains.
‘The natural habitat for stained glass is high up in the walls of churches, whereas silver objects require close observation in showcases,’ he says. ‘The solution was to create a full-length false wall along the non-window side, which acts as a light box at high level. This allows the light to be evenly distributed.’