This is the first phase of a four-year improvement plan, which will see the development of the arts centre’s collections, exhibitions and building.
Initial work will take place to develop the west end of the building, including the implementation of a postgraduate study centre, a sculpture garden and a new restaurant and bar.
The redevelopment is being undertaken by The Sainsbury Centre alongside Foster + Partners and lighting and exhibition design consultancy George Sexton Associates.
A Sainsbury Centre spokeswoman says that while the Sainsbury Centre team is working with Foster + Partners on all aspects of the project, the practice is ‘not designing the spaces as such but is closely involved in all of them.’ However, the Sainsbury Institute for Fine Arts post-graduate study area is designed by Foster + Partners.
Joe Geitner, project manager at George Sexton Associates, says, ‘George Sexton Associates was involved in the initial installation of the Sainsbury Centre and has been involved with the display of the permanent collection and lighting since it opened. We’re working on the display of the collections and the lighting.’
The first phase of development is based on the theme The Modern, with the opening of the 392m2 Modernism Gallery, located in the west mezzanine, and featuring a cycle of one-year collections.
The gallery will explore themes in modern art and design of the last 130 years. It will be accompanied by the Modern sculpture garden, exhibiting major national and international contemporary art works. The other new gallery will be the 100m2 Next Modern Gallery.
The new Modern Life Café will include designer furniture and aims to ‘enhance public engagement in the collections and building’, according to the Sainsbury Centre.
The first phase if due for completion on 4 February 2012.