The Courtauld Gallery

Nissen Richards Studio

The Courtauld Gallery re-opened to the public in November 2021, following the most significant modernisation project in its history, providing a transformed home for one of the UK’s greatest art collections. The Gallery has been its magnificent 18th century home, Grade I-listed Somerset House in the Strand, since 1989.

As part of the wide-ranging project, cultural-sector specialists Nissen Richards Studio were charged with the interpretation of the new visitor experience, considering the entirety of the visitor journey from arrival, through all three levels of gallery space, culminating in the extraordinary LMVH Great Room. The remit included the scheme’s gallery and exhibition design, including a brand-new interior colour scheme; bespoke visitor furniture and artwork showcase design, as well as the project’s wayfinding and signage. The design approach began with a consideration of the physical aspects of the environment, including the complexity of spaces and the way visitors experience and flow through them. Computer modelling was used to map visitor flow forensically, from street level into the entrance hall and through the thirteen individual gallery spaces. Nissen Richards Studio created the new paintwork colour scheme throughout the interior spaces, as well as bespoke new showcases and furniture. The practice sought to create an engaging environment with elegant displays, enhanced within the historic setting and supporting the Gallery’s ethos of enabling unhurried and personal enjoyment of great masterpieces within a distinctive environment, whilst encouraging the public to foster deep encounters with the breadth of the collection and the history of Somerset House.