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AOC win bid to lead redevelopment of V&A Museum of Childhood

The fit-out is set to include three new gallery spaces, and will significantly increase the number of objects currently on display

Posted by Julian Owen | March 20, 2019 | Supplier News

An East London architecture and design practice has won a competition for the fit-out of the most ambitious transformation of the V&A Museum of Childhood since its 1872 inception. Come the autumn, AOC will unveil “concept designs that reimagine how visitors experience this much-loved institution”, including three new gallery spaces.

As lead designers for the redevelopment, AOC are engaging a team of sub-consultants - including a materials specialist, digital strategist and furniture designer - and will work closely with the appointed architects for the base-build, De Matos Ryan.

The redevelopment will significantly increase the number of objects currently on display, and will draw on the full scope of the V&A’s collections of art, design and performance.

AOC's response to our challenging brief outlined an exciting and ambitious approach to working openly with our community and our wider audience

Geoff Shearcroft, director of AOC, said: “The transformation of the historic V&A Museum of Childhood provides a fantastic opportunity to develop new ways for young people and their families to explore and engage with the V&A’s world-class collections in the 21st century. We are looking forward to developing a public building that is both an essential civic space for Bethnal Green, and a physically and socially interactive museum for multi-generational and inter-cultural audiences.”

Philippa Simpson, V&A director of design and FuturePlan, said: “The V&A are thrilled to be working with AOC on this seminal project. Their response to our challenging brief outlined an exciting and ambitious approach to working openly with our community and our wider audience, as well as a deep understanding of the museum as a vehicle for social change. They will play a critical role in realising the V&A’s mission to create a museum filled with joy and optimism, a place where everyone can see the potential of design to change the world.”

The project to transform the museum is in its second year, and is currently in the design and content development phase. Co-design with school children, families, teachers, community groups will continue to be championed throughout the project and carried forward into future programming and operations after the museum relaunches. 

It builds on recent initiatives, including A Pirate’s Life For Me (which runs until April 22), designed collaboratively with children, and Kids’ Takeover Day, in which local primary school children take over operations of the museum for the day. 

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