Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Jameel Gallery of V&A

Impressive more than the Ardabil Carpet itself - the world's oldest dated carpet - is its display design. Carpets of archaeological value tend to be hung on the wall in museums. But that's not really how carpets are supposed to be viewed.

The V&A had the courage to lay the Carpet on the floor even though this takes up a huge space available for the gallery room. But they didn't just lay it down. The Carpet is covered by the mirror ceiling with many small lights - which are turned on only for 10 minutes in half an hour to preserve the color of the Carpet. The mirror ceiling itself hangs by wire from the gallery's celing. Plus, viewers can sit down on a sofa on the shorter edges of the Carpet (that's how I took the above picture), allowing them to appreciate the Carpet in a relaxed way - that's what the Carpet does to your mind, isn't it?

The Jameel Gallery, just opened last Thursday, now becomes another favorite place of mine in the V&A. (See also FT magazine's article on this gallery.)

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