V&A South Asia Galleries

The winning team will be expected to provide architectural design services, graphic design, lighting design, structural engineering, M&E engineering, heritage consultancy, fire and access consultancy, and CDM services.

The team chosen for the estimated £800,000 contract will refurbish and upgrade two ground floor rooms which currently house the ‘most significant collection of South Asian art outside the region’ including decorative arts, manuscripts, textiles, dress, paintings and jewellery.

Last year, the museum launched a competition to rethink its historic galleries used to house the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. In 2022, JA Projects – working with A Practice for Everyday Life and Larry Achiampong – won a contest to design two exhibition spaces inside the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new east London outpost.

Judges will include the V&A’s head of procurement, David Osborne; director of design, estate and public programme, Philippa Simpson; head of projects Katie Burrell; Natalia Ferreiro, client project manager; and Divia Patel, lead curator of the gallery.

The completed project will aim to ‘offer an experience which is contemplative, intriguing, joyous and empowering, leaving visitors feeling uplifted and engaged.’

‘Unrivalled in its range, it contains extraordinary works which together represent the breadth and complexity of South Asia’s outstanding output. We want to provide an exceptional visitor experience by transforming the design and content of the current galleries.’

Applicants must hold employer’s liability insurance of £5 million, public liability insurance of £5 million and professional indemnity insurance of £1 million.

Competition details

The latest competition aims to enhance the visitor experience of the South Asia Galleries and allow more items from the collection – including the potential for some monumental architectural pieces – to be displayed.

The V&A is the world’s largest museum dedicated to design and the decorative arts, with more than 2.3 million objects in its collection. Recently completed upgrade projects include a new £1 million shop by Friend and Company, a members’ room by Carmody Groarke and a £2.25 million overhaul of the museum’s main entrance on Cromwell Road by Sam Jacob Studio.

The £4.3 million project, planned to complete in 2027, aims to ‘rethink, revitalise and de-clutter’ the galleries so they can display more items from the central London museum’s collections while also engaging visitors with new narratives about the region’s design traditions and heritage.

According to the brief: ‘This project offers a unique opportunity to create outstanding permanent galleries for the appreciation of the most significant collection of South Asian art outside the region.

Around five and six shortlisted teams will be invited to tender with all unsuccessful finalists eligible for a £1,500 honorarium. Bids will be evaluated 40 per cent on case studies, 35 per cent on team composition and 25 per cent on experience.

Project title V&A South Asia Galleries – Design
Client Victoria and Albert Museum
Contract value £800,000
First round deadline Midday, 26 February 2023
Restrictions Applicants must provide examples of up to three relevant projects or experience that demonstrate your approach to similar challenges
More information https://www.find-tender.service.gov.uk/Notice/001592-2024