The bespoke designed retail space is the latest by Lumsden Design in a series of projects for the museum over the last five years, beginning with the family and collectibles shops and most recently seeing the consultancy design a Viking shop for the Museum’s new Conservation and Exhibitions Centre.
The new bookshop now provides an alternative entrance and exit to the ground floor of the Reading Room.
At just 3.2m-deep the shop design had to meet the constraints of the space and accommodate a design that was in keeping with the Sir Norman Foster-designed Great Court.
Fixtures and fittings within the space had to be able to display 20,000 books and store an additional 2,000 out of sight according to Lumsden Design, which says it was able to leave areas of the Great Court’s Portland stone exposed between the retail display furniture and fixtures.
The glass-fronted shop has a large window display area so Lumsden has created a 2m-diameter wheel made up of 300 books as a focal point, which can be seen across the Great Court.
At the entrance an oversized book and feature display gives way to a ‘stylish and sophisticated’ design with a palette of natural oak, black lacquered MDF and grey Corian highlighted by brass detailing, while tabletops wrapped in black leather echo the original Reading Room writing desks.
Bespoke furniture, some of which features hidden storage, is designed by Lumsden and made by Benbow.
Callum Lumsden, creative director and founder of Lumsden Design, says, ‘The British Museum is a global destination for scholars, academics and visitors alike and the Bookshop has to cater for a prolific array of titles and categories.
‘We have strived to create a compelling retail environment which compliments the majesty of the Reading Room, as well as enhancing the architecture of Lord Foster in the Great Court itself.’