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NGV Asian Galleries

A dedicated display space for NGV’s Asian collection designed in collaboration with NGV under curatorial guidance.

  • Client Brief

    These refurbishments, both on the first floor of NGV International in St Kilda Road, take one of the standardised gallery spaces from the 2003 building renovation and transform them into a dedicated display space for the NGV’s extensive Japanese and Chinese, South and Southeast Asian collections. Both of these exhibitions were designed in collaboration with the NGV internal design team under strict curatorial guidance.

    Art of Japan

    In keeping with the Japanese tradition the gallery uses natural materials, warm colours and a minimal aesthetic. A recessed ceiling coffer with backlit shoji lattice screens further evokes the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese space whilst providing welcome modulation to the modest ceiling height of the space. The gallery contains a number of separate displays focusing on different aspects of the collection, including historical Buddhist art, ancient Negoro lacquer ware, woodblock prints from the golden age of Ukiyo-e, Noh theatre robes, traditional tea ceremony utensils and contemporary ceramic works.

    Sprinkler and air conditioning systems were reconfigured, a state of the art custom designed lighting system was installed and display cases salvaged from the previous fit out were adapted and reused, whilst new custom made display cabinets were installed to showcase some of the signature artefacts of the collection. All this was carried out within the strict dust, noise, and vibration limitations imposed by working within an operating public gallery containing numerous delicate objects and a discerning public audience.

    Art of China, South and Southeast Asia

    Artefacts displayed include paintings, calligraphy, prints, sculptures, ceramics, lacquer, jade, glass, furniture, and textiles. There is a section dedicated to Chinese works, and a section focusing on the visual cultures of Southeast Asia and India. They tell the story of the great religions of the region and of their development, artistic representation and influence.

    Whilst working largely within the bounds of the original space, two triangular niches have been cut through to previously covered windows, admitting controlled natural light to the north side of the space and creating a visual connection to through to the central NGV courtyard. Sprinkler and air conditioning systems were reconfigured, a state of the art custom designed lighting system was installed and display cases salvaged from the previous fit out were adapted and reused, whilst new custom made display cabinets were installed to showcase some of the signature artefacts of the collection. All this was carried out within the strict dust, noise, and vibration limitations imposed by working within an operating public gallery containing numerous delicate objects and a discerning public audience.

  • Design Specifications

    Services Provided

    • Concept Design
    • Design Documentation
    • Construction Advice

    Architect

    Workshop Architecture in collaboration with NGV

    People

    Project Team: James Staughton, Ming Lie
    Photography: Narelle Wilson

    Client

    NGV International

    Date completed

    2012

    Location

    St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria

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