The original Alison Jacques gallery in Clifford St was a building with a very strong character: a narrow staircase wound upwards through a series of domestic sized rooms; a simple white colour scheme linked rooms and circulation areas leading to an overall feeling of space and light that defied the relatively cramped conditions.
In designing the new gallery it was important to build on the successes of the previous space while allowing the business to develop by showing more ambitious and larger artworks. We felt very strongly that we should create a main showing space with a particular character – it would be separated from the busy street outside and be a surprisingly calm and spacious room that invited the viewer to look at the art in peace. The way that this central gallery also leads to a second space, again designed to have a very particular character, recalls the sense of journey that characterised the old building.
In the foyer distractions were kept to a minimum. Desks and shelving were kept simple and white and the staircase that leads to the second floor was hidden to minimise any visual “noise”. The upper floor was designed to allow the maximum showing capacity to be incorporated in an area that also contains offices, a store and catering facilities.
By establishing a linked suite of rooms with their own individual atmosphere we feel we have created an exceptional new gallery that, importantly, maintains and reflects the character of the original space.