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London's £12 million gallery to bridge gap between art and science

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A new gallery is due to arrive in London in 2017, and aims to bridge the gap between art and science with the ambition of being an all-inclusive visitors’ space. The Science Gallery London project by King's College London is aimed at 15-25-year-olds, and expects to draw at least 300,000 visitors per year! It follows in the footsteps of Science Gallery Dublin, which was set up by Trinity College Dublin in 2008, and is one of eight international university-linked science galleries set to be opened by 2020 with the help of the Global Science Gallery Network.

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The new gallery will be based in Boland House, a Grade II-listed building on the Guy’s Campus of King’s College London, with the exteriors to be designed by architectural practice LTS. The project coincides with the renovation of King College London’s student’s union, which is removing the on-site McDonalds to make room for the new gallery. There are also plans for the Georgian Quadrangle car park outside the building to be developed into a courtyard by LDA Design, in order to host a gallery café terrace and seating. The visual identity for Science Gallery Dublin was developed by Irish consultancy Zero G in 2008, but Detail Design Studio recently refined it and developed the brand’s global guidelines. This same branding is to be applied to the London gallery in order to promote consistency between the galleries.

The new Science Gallery London aims to bridge the gap between art and science

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Daniel Glaser, director at Science Gallery London, said of the project: “Traditionally universities are introverted spaces designed for their own members. Nowadays, universities want to be of the city, not just in the city, offering social, political and cultural benefits to non-students, while getting voices heard on campus as well.” The gallery speaks to this new, extroverted model, by allowing the audience to set the agenda of the design and exhibitions taking place in the gallery. In the run-up to the opening of the gallery, several opening seasons have been running to raise awareness of the new exhibition space. Frequencies: Tune into Life took place in September 2014, and saw artists, students and academics research biological rhythms in the local community to create sound installations. Fed Up: The Future of Food is also running throughout this year over various community projects looking at the fermentation of food, the future of protein and the future of fast food. Cog Design developed the Fed Up campaign, but the design process was also influenced by public engagement.

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The Fed Up campaign is based around an illustrated grasshopper with butcher diagram markings, representing cuts of meat, drawn in-house by digital project manager Becca Muir. Michael Smith, co-founder at Cog Design, said of the campaign: “After meeting with Science Gallery London, we realised the campaign should be about the future of food – but not scary, scientific and dystopian. The near future of food is likely to be about the rediscovery of techniques we’e forgotten, such as fermentation, so we discovered those Victorian-style butchers’ diagrams. The whole point of the campaign is to engage local, young people. We wanted it to be particularly arresting and a bit quirky, not too dry and academic.”

The gallery will open in 2017 and will be based in Boland House at King’s College London

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The gallery aims to be completely funded by charity donations, with a projected cost of £12 million. The Wellcome Trust is providing £3 million in funding towards the development of the gallery, with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity providing a further £4 million and Shard Funding Ltd. providing £5 million. The project is currently awaiting planning permission, which is necessary in order to regenerate the Georgian Quadrangle outside the building into a courtyard. A planning application will be submitted to Southward Council this August. If permission is granted, the gallery aims to open by the Autumn of 2017. We'll be first in line!

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