NEW ACTS: Two of the U.K.’s leading cultural institutions have major developments this week, including key partnerships within the fashion industry.
London’s Tate Modern is expanding, and will opening the doors to Switch House this weekend, a new extension to its Southwark building, while the Victoria and Albert Museum will team with Vogue Russia on an exhibition that is set to open in 2020 and aims to explore Russia’s influence on Western fashion.
The new building at the Tate, shaped like a twisted pyramid, spans 10 floors. The exterior has been constructed with bricks arranged to look like chain mail, while the space inside features four levels of exhibition space, as well as a restaurant and educational spaces. A viewing platform on the top floor offers a 360-degree view over London, taking in St. Paul’s Cathedral to The Shard.
Herzog & de Meuron, who converted the original building from a power station to a contemporary art gallery, are also behind the Switch House.
The space will focus on exploring the dynamic relationship between the artist and the audience with live art performances and installations, where visitors will be encouraged to interact with the art on display. Showcasing work by female artists has been another focus for the institution with rooms dedicated to the works of Louise Bourgeois and Marina Abramovic.
During a preview, London Mayor Sadiq Khan highlighted that culture is key to the city’s development and an integral part of his agenda.
“Just as we plan for the future of transport and the future of housing, we must also plan for culture. It’s about realizing people’s potential; the Tate Modern brings art to new generations and nurtures talent. To be a world city, London needs to support creative places and creative talent,” Khan said. “This is a modern museum of the 21st century.”
To coincide with the opening of Switch House, Tate has inked a three-year partnership with Uniqlo, as reported.
The brand said the partnership is not about promoting product or generating sales, but instead aims to highlight London’s cultural diversity and Uniqlo’s aim of making design democratic.
During the opening weekend, an interactive installation will be set up by Uniqlo on the 6th floor of Switch House, inviting visitors to share their view of the future of London. Later in the year, the museum will also be introducing Uniqlo Fridays, a series of events involving music and culture taking place in the evening.
“Through this relationship we can reinforce Uniqlo’s longstanding commitment to London, our first market outside of Japan, and our desire to continue to improve our offering for both a local and a global customer audience,” said Takao Kuwahara, chief executive officer of Uniqlo Europe.
The second art and fashion partnership announced this week involves the Victoria and Albert, which will be collaborating with Vogue Russia and Moscow’s State Tretyakov gallery on a new exhibition, set to open in 2020.
It will examine Russia’s influence on 20th Century and contemporary Western fashion, drawing upon the V&A’s extensive Russian collection of jewelry, metalwork and textiles, as well as the Vogue and State Tretyakov archives.
A variety of film, photography, fine art and costume will be displayed to explore influential styles throughout Russian history including folk and imperial costumes. Works by designers such as Paul Poiret and Jean Paul Gaultier will also be on display.
Martin Roth, the director of the V&A, explained that the partnership presents an opportunity to co-create cultural content and highlight Russia’s rich history.
“Russia has never itself been a power in world fashion, but it has often had the power to influence world fashion. This is because of the truly gigantic scale of the country itself, its dramatic history, and the endless variety of its ethnographic and cultural landscape. This encompasses many contrasts — between the exotic East and Slavic romanticism, between the unrestrained luxury of Byzantium and northern reserve — offering a rich visual range alongside its thrilling history of plot and intrigue and creating a perfect breeding ground for ideas of design,” added Anita Gigovskaya, president of Condé Nast Russia.