The new styling creates a much more contemporary alternative to the main gallery. The wall panels have been stripped back - which has helped to create a space which is one third larger than the previous gallery. At the same time the old ceiling has been removed allowing the gallery to go back to its original height - and gaining over one metre of height in the process. The windows have been uncovered as a result and these now allow natural daylight to penetrate the gallery space for the first time. The wood floor has gone and in its place is what I think is polished concrete. The new lighting systems are excellent. In particular because they're higher the light is more diffuse so that everything is well lit without reminders of spotlights all the time.
Below you'll find some photographs from my visit this afternoon.
|The Stairs are in the same place - but everything has changed!|
- and the floors completely different....
- and the name of the galleries is on the floor....
- and the ceiling height has changed and the gallery is now much higher
|The Space now seems much bigger|
The height of the 'state of the art' lighting casts a much more diffused light over the paintings - and they look much better for it. Plus the natural light from the galleries in wall along The Mall side help to make the space seem much bigger and more airy.
|The windows along the Mall wall give the light a completely different quality|
|Looking back to the new Gallery Reception area|
to have an exhibition in a central London location.
The launch exhibition comprises a work by a selection of invited artists who have either won or been shortlisted for The Threadneedle Prize. I have to say it looked very good in the space.
Overall it's a huge improvement - however I can see one problem with it.
It's the age old problem of what happens when you give a room a makeover at home. You then need to "do the rest of the house"!
I think it's going to provide a huge incentive to do the same thing in the large West Gallery.
The entire project is a result of further generous funding from Threadneedle Investments, whose commitment towards the Mall Galleries and the work of this charity has already played a fundamental role in making The Threadneedle Prize one of the UK's most significant prizes for contemporary painting and sculpture.