Wallace Collection shortlists for £500k revamp

London historic house and museum The Wallace Collection has drawn up a shortlist of designers competing for a £500 000 project to revamp the Grade II-listed building.

Exhibition design consultancies Small Back Room, Drinkall Dean, Gianni Botsford, Continuum, Softroom and Gitta Gschwendtner have been selected from 40 expressions of interest, and will go on to the next stage of the pitch.

According to a spokeswoman for project advisor and organiser of the competition Malcolm Reading Consultants, designers have presented credentials and cited examples of other museums and listed buildings they have worked on.

The next step, she says, will be to hold an open day, where the teams will receive a briefing and begin to think about space, orientation and retail issues. Each will receive £3000 for their creative input at this stage, while designs will be presented towards the end of April.

The Wallace Collection retained MRC at the end of last year to oversee a competition to find a designer that would transform the museum entrance, creating one better able to cope with the flow of visitors and staff, and better suited to the museum’s current space, orientation and retail needs.

A jury, comprising Wallace Collection director Rosalind Savill, assistant directors Clare O’Brien and Simon Pink, architect Mark Hammond and director of MRC Malcolm Reading, will meet in May to consider creative submissions.

THE WALLACE COLLECTION

• The Wallace Collection is a national museum in a historic London town house in Marylebone

• It houses displays of French 18th-century painting, furniture and porcelain, with Old Master paintings and a world-class armoury spanning 25 galleries

• Visitor numbers to the Wallace Collection have reached 300 000, nearly a third more than two years ago, due to evening functions and people dining at its Oliver Peyton-owned restaurant

• The current hall was designed more than 15 years ago and is no longer suitable for the needs of the museum

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