The consultancy began working with the organisation about six years, ago when it won a pitch to help conceive a 20-year vision for the museum.
It has worked to transform the 1100 m2 upper gallery area, which shut for restoration about three years ago, into a new museum space for exhibits about the social and economic history and people of Birmingham.
Redman Design worked with Birmingham-based architecture practice Associated Architects , which initially cleared the space and also added improved access to the gallery from the floor below.
John Redman, partner at Redman Design, says, ‘Over a decade the space had got filled up with cabling, wiring and different ceilings added that had obscured the beautiful roof lights. That’s all been stripped back now, so the gallery’s very close to what it once was.’
Redman says the spaces will have a ‘contemporary’ feel, demonstrating the relevance of historical events in the city to the area today.
He says, ‘Themes such as migration to the city aren’t just a recent thing – that’s always been part of the story of Birmingham, so we want to present it in a contemporary context.’
According to Redman, the exception to the ‘contemporary’ feel will be the space underneath the museum’s dome, where the display aims to echo the feel of the Great Exhibition of the 19th Century.
He says, ‘We wanted it to be a bit less didactic and more about “these are wonderful things”, such as the displays about metal manufacturing.’
Redman Design has conceived and created an immersive exhibit that recalls the effects of the First and Second World Wars on Birmingham and its people. Through the projection of images onto shattered, jagged shapes on different planes it evokes the experience of an explosion. The consultancy’s initial ‘exploding house’ concept was taken on by artist Gerry Judah.
Redman says, ‘[Judah] took our concept as his brief and ran with it to produce a fragmented structure which creates a context of the experience of wartime Birmingham, we tried to make the physical space work with films to create something more than if you just sat down and watched the film.’