BKD reinvents the museum
Anyone who steps inside The Study this September will be struck by its interior design – one that has been created by BKD, the practice run by one of Manchester’s most celebrated designers, Ben Kelly. BKD has come up with an interior that features contemporary furniture and materials, strong colour and surprising details, such as seating with integrated bookshelves and reading lights, or a table whose video microscope is capable of sharing still images direct to Twitter.
The furniture itself is a fresh take on the traditional. Simple cabinets have been grouped together to form a corridor of densely packed exhibits from the museum’s collection, while Victorian-style glazed cabinets, chairs and communal tables have been given a modern edge thanks to colourful metal frames that are bolted together in seemingly random groups.
Similarly, materials that echo those used in traditional libraries and reading rooms – such as leather and desktop linoleum – sit alongside high vis film and deep black Valchromat, an innovative solid wood fibre board known for its strong colour.
In fact, colour is a big part of BKD’s design. Using colours sourced from other Alfred Waterhouse buildings, here a set of striking colours – lilac, green, turquoise – highlight original features such as decorative plasterwork and also help define the three different “zones” you’ll find within The Study. All in all, it’s a clever take on what museums are all about and will, we hope, help all our visitors, from amateur to academic, quickly feel at home.