Liz Smith talks to RIBA Journal about Purcell's go-to contacts, including a weaving house, a timber restoration specialist and wallpaper specialist.
Historic buildings should continue to be the very best of the past. But we have a responsibility to deliver work that says something about who we are now as well. The National Portrait Gallery project was a collaboration between the artworks, the building and the design team’s interventions, and required so many specialist skills. I want to talk about the weaving house Gainsborough, based in Suffolk, because the use of its fabrics was very exciting when we were rehanging the galleries with Jamie Fobert Architects and Nissen Richards Studio.
Reintroducing light by reopening the historic windows was a major design move of the project, to restore the original interior forms and to help address visitor gallery fatigue. The colours of the wall hangings were such an important part of that representation story.