Urban Salon designs Museum of London Docklands’ Estuary exhibition

Urban Salon has created an exhibition concept for the Museum of London Docklands’ Estuary exhibition, by designing an immersive environment within a ‘floating’ box.

The 'floating box' design concept takes shape
The ‘floating box’ design concept takes shape

Estuary, is the museum’s largest contemporary art exhibition and will be held at the Chris Ellmers Gallery, which is housed within the Grade I listed Georgian warehouse building.

Urban Salon was invited to pitch in October 2012 and was appointed on the strength of its solution to create ‘a simple, contemplative, immersive space,’ according to Urban Salon designer and lead on the project Ray Cheung.

The protected status of the building means that no attachments or interventions can be made to the fabric of the gallery, which contains a series of timber pillars.

Steven Turner, Seafort Project
Steven Turner, Seafort Project

‘Instead of treating it like a grid we decided to change people’s perception of it and treated it more like a landscape’, says Cheung.

Urban Salon’s design, which is currently being installed, proposes a ‘floating box’ composed as a series of lightboxes, split by ‘a continual horizon line’, which is where the boxes meet, says Cheung.

Jock McFayden, Dagenham 2006
Jock McFayden, Dagenham 2006

‘It creates a seemless fabric box which is not attached to anything but floats – or sits on the ground,’ he adds.

Artworks are presented within this space, giving a ‘misty ethereal feel’ according to Cheung, who says the design ‘plays with dark and light spaces.’

From the film Thames by William Raban
From the film Thames by William Raban

Pockets of the structure are given over to audio-visual works, which have been presented as large as possible (up to 4m), and in some cases floor-to-ceiling height ‘to make them as atmospheric as possible,’ says Cheung.

The AV works include films by Richard Wilson, John Smith, and William Raban.

Pieces by 12 London-based artists working in photography, painting, and print making will feature in the exhibition and will be indicated with signage, exhibition graphics and a print guide designed by Studio Fernando Gutiérrez.

Simon Roberts, Southend 2010
Simon Roberts, Southend 2010

Urban Salon has also worked with DHA on lighting for the exhibition, which opens on 17 May.

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