There were other issues to solve such as the disconnection of the small foyer from the rest of the building and the location of the receptionist who was hidden from view on entry by the shop. It was important that any layout changes we made felt as if they had always been a part of the larger building. Finishes choices also had to complement or rehabilitate the material qualities dictated by the existing building. Joinery and light fittings were designed to bring a counterbalancing warmth and playfulness to the more utilitarian feel of the original concrete structure and anthracite steelwork.
With services designers Ritchie + Daffin, we considered the relationship of the lighting to the internal surfaces of the re-planned gallery spaces. Existing Erco lighting was repurposed as suspended tracks hanging lower than the existing concrete beams to avoid overshadowing and increase flexibility. The lighting provides another level of adaptability; it can be changed from cool, brightly lit gallery settings to warm, dimmer settings for social events or performances.
Reducing electricity consumption was another driver for the design. The original track light fittings were replaced with energy efficient LED ones, and the traditional gallery fluorescent strip lights were replaced with diffused linear LED fittings.
The cafe, which was previously hidden behind two sets of double doors, is now directly connected to the entrance foyer which makes it a more appealing space to spend time in. A discrete retail area has been formed to one side, away from the busier thoroughfare of the foyer. A new window brings in natural light deeper into the plan and reveals the interior to the street outside on what was originally a long run of blank wall.
New joinery units around the foyer for lockers, benching, bookcases and cabinetry were designed as pieces of furniture pushed up against the walls leaving the central floor area as clear as possible. Some were taken full height to suit the scale of the space and to accommodate acoustic attenuation measures at high level.