Director Pippa Nissen, Senior Associate Marie-Lise Oulmont and Associates Andrea Hickey and Kate Coghlan of Nissen Richards Studio are leading a new postgraduate teaching unit at London Metropolitan University. The unit challenged students to design a ‘Museum for Now’. Here is one of the responses to that challenge.

The Sculpture Museum investigates the human form in sculpture through a collection of artefacts dating back to Ancient Greece through to Renaissance and up to today. The human figure has always been a point of interest in art. It has been explored and expressed in various ways. Artworks often reflect the way we see ourselves and our perception of the surrounding world. They are also recep­tacles of the social and political values of their time.

A year of unexpected events, where people had to close their doors and remain at home, was along everything else - a moment of reflection on both levels – individual and collective. It was a pause in life that made us rethink and question the way we live.

Following the latter, I believe A Museum for Now should introduce and emphasize on these reoccurring moments to pause and reflect within the visitor journey formed by the collection.

The design of the museum was built around the idea of these moments of reflection. They are called crossing points – octagonal spaces which occur at different times within the museum where sculptures from different time periods are presented to the visitor, at the crossing of different time periods. The main gallery spaces are narrow galleries which suggest the idea of a linear journey – a route on which you explore, learn and observe and the moment to pause and reflect happens within the octagonal space.

The difference in pace is expressed internally through different light conditions and materiality. The main gallery spaces make use of various roof lights that create a playful and dynamic atmosphere, whereas the crossing points pres­ent the visitor with a more static and consistent light.