Carte Blanche designed the exterior, interior and graphic applications for the British Museum’s retail outlets. Created to give the museum an innovative outward face, the shop designs draw on the heritage of the museum, but provide a modern context.
Each outlet caters to the needs of different target groups, from children to those with specialist interests. ‘We split up the wide range of products to maximise each item’s sale potential,’ says Kate Channing. Merchandise is displayed in ‘origin’ groups, and staff are trained to provide information about the products from the same historical or cultural period.
No 22 Bloomsbury Street is the first of the new British Museum shops to open. The exterior of the street level corner site has been restored and finished in a black gloss with shiny copper clad sills to complement the surrounding period buildings, while timber bi-folding front doors with stainless steel handles and clear glass canopies add a 21st century feel. The light and airy 1400m2 interior includes a wet-look polished plaster feature wall with inlaid copper, which contrasts with the neutral tones of the other walls. Limestone and cherry flooring, white shelving and counter units, and glass and stainless steel jewellery display casings add to the spacious feel. The shop also features metallic-finish panels reaching from floor-to-ceiling depicting Aryan gods, which link the shop with the museum. These were created by Carte Blanche, which was also responsible for all the outlets’ graphics, including the British Museum logo, designed by Interbrand Newell and Sorrell, which appears on carrier bags and gift vouchers.