The Sainsbury Centre is one of the most prominent university art galleries in Britain, and a major national centre for the study and presentation of art. Designed between 1974 and 1976, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was the first major public building designed by architect Norman Foster. It houses the extraordinary art collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, as well as the Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau and the University’s Abstract and Constructivist Collection. Alongside the permanent collections, they host a range of temporary exhibitions, with new galleries providing the largest climate-controlled exhibition space in Eastern England. The Sainsbury Centre also offers an award-winning learning programme of gallery talks, lectures and art workshops.
This was a particularly exciting project for us as we were already firm fans of the centre and had been frequent visitors for many years. Working with them we helped to define what role a new site would play and how it should reflect their philosophy. We used their marketing personas to select and conduct user experience testing to help gain further insight.
We needed to make the new site easier to use than the previous one and make it visually rich – a virtual museum on-line. The core idea for the site was to adopt the principles of Norman Foster’s design of the building. The building is flexible and spaces can be easily redefined, providing functional areas where art can be displayed unhindered.
The walls of the building are made using tiles that are 4:3 in ratio, so we used those dimensions and created a grid to match. All the content can be easily updated making the site dynamic.
As the project unfolds other functionality will be added enhancing ticket booking and improving access to the Sainsbury Centre’s database of artworks and artists.
“I wanted to say how fabulous the site looks and functions. The great news is undoubtedly the success you have achieved in delivering a complex and demanding project – so a big thank you and well done to the team.”
Chief Operating Officer
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts