The V&A’s commercial and retail arm V&A Enterprises is understood to be responsible for running the project, which will allow customers to browse for books while drinking wine. The proposal is understood to have received planning permission, but is believed to be awaiting an alcohol licence.
V&A Reading Rooms will be located in the shopping area on Exhibition Road, which leads up to the museum from the Tube station. According to a visual published by The London Planning Practice, which claims to have helped the store to win planning permission, the shop will feature an awning with outside tables and chairs, an indoor bar displaying bottles of wine, Anglepoise lighting and a lavender-blue palette for walls and fixtures.
The retail format of wine bar combined with bookshop is unfamiliar in London, but is more common in Paris. As part of the museum’s major redevelopment scheme, Future Plan, several architects and interior design consultancies have worked on the cafés, shops and restaurants housed within the V&A over the past few years.
In 2006, McInnes Usher McKnight Architects created the V&A café, in the Garden Rooms. The museum describes the design as ’contemporary, elegant and utilitarian’ on its website.
Muma claims that it did not pitch for the V&A Reading Rooms project. Eva Jiricna Architects created the main museum shop, based in its Central Hall, while Softroom designed its Members Room and Wright & Wright Architects worked on the V&A Royal Institute of British Architects Reading Rooms and Stores.
The V&A and David Collins Studio both declined to comment.
- The V&A is planning to open a gallery in Dundee, hosting touring exhibitions and research into contemporary design
- The £47m V&A at Dundee is due to open in 2014
- It is hoped that V&A Reading Rooms at London’s South Kensington will open in the autumn