Young V&A,
London, UK

Restored natural light is skilfully blended with flexible artificial lighting, honouring the historic building and supporting an engaging and accessible experience for children, families, and young people.
Victoria and Albert Museum
2017 - 2023
De Matos Ryan
Display Lighting
Studio ZNA
Hufton + Crow
Project Team
Clementine Fletcher Smith, Benz Roos, Neville de Sa

Housed within a Grade II* listed building in East London, we designed the architectural lighting and provided exhibition lighting infrastructure for the Young V & A as part of deMatos Ryan’s competition-winning team.

The project aimed to re-use and repurpose as much existing equipment as possible. We audited all the existing spotlights, retaining the best quality fittings for re-use in the new Temporary Gallery. ”

The reimagining of the much-loved Museum of Childhood included a robust co-design approach. Our lighting design is aligned with the architectural design in supporting the requirements of all user groups, helping to intuitively draw visitors to the exhibition spaces “up and down” via a new spiralling staircase and “around and about” the learning spaces; while preserving and enhancing the historic fabric of the building.

Having conducted numerous daylight studies to assess the impact of natural light on sensitive displays, the skylights in the historic ‘Town Square,” could be re-opened to allow natural light back into the space. Balancing and supplementing this, we added artificial uplighting to reveal the magnificent volume of the barrel-vaulted roof and highlighted key architectural features, such as the new spiral staircase and column bases, while providing functional lighting to the Town Square.

To protect the fabric of this listed heritage asset, we designed an unobtrusive custom ledge detail to accommodate the lighting equipment at high level. Colour change flexibility has been included in this central space for events, while in the exhibition spaces either side of the Town Square, the barrel vaults are celebrated with simple, warm white uplighting that can be switched off for sensitive exhibitions.

On the lower ground floor, where natural light is limited, we provided a vibrant ambience for the new learning and lunching spaces, using neat details such as glowing ring-shaped pendants, integrated cabinet lights and uplights within the small arched windows that peek through to the ground level above.

Each room has a simple control interface for ease of use and flexibility.