V&A East 2025
ABOUT V&A EAST
V&A East Storehouse Designed by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro with support from UK based architects Austin-Smith:Lord, V&A East Storehouse is a 16,000 sqm purpose-built home for over 250,000 objects, 350,000 library books and 1,000 archives – heading to east London in what will be the UK’s largest ever collections move. Offering an entirely new museum experience, the Storehouse invites visitors to immerse themselves within and explore the full breadth of the V&A’s collections. Blurring the boundaries between public and private back of house spaces, V&A East Storehouse will bring together research and reading rooms with galleries, performance spaces and creative studios, all within one experiential warehouse building.
From the oldest objects in the V&A’s collection, including a pair of ancient Egyptian woven shoes to the smallest, such as 17th century dress pins and exquisite buttons made by celebrated 20th century studio potter, Lucie Rie, the space will be interspersed with colossal architectural fragments and room sets, previously too challenging to be on permanent display. Visitors can step inside the only complete Frank Lloyd Wright interior outside of the US – his 1930s office for American businessman, Edgar J. Kaufmann, an exquisite 15th century carved and gilded wooden ceiling from the now lost Torrijos Palace near Toledo in Spain, and a fullscale ‘Frankfurt Kitchen’ designed by the Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, originally installed in flats in Frankfurt during the 1920s, and rarely on public display.
V&A East Museum
Designed by Dublin-based architects O’Donnell + Tuomey, the five-storey V&A East Museum spans c.7,000 sqm and will offer welcoming spaces to socialise meet and relax, as well as major exhibitions, festivals, commissions, immersive installations, live performances, pop-ups and late-night events. The main exhibition hall will present thematic shows celebrating the leading artists, designers and performers of our time. Two double height collection galleries will explore global making with new acquisitions, commissions and live activations presented alongside collection displays, bringing the spaces to life. The galleries will also showcase east London’s creative and manufacturing heritage, spotlighting local makers past and present. An installation and events space on the top floor will be the focal point for V&A East’s global partnerships programme, hosting interdisciplinary collaborations and new commissions and events, and a creative studio will host both drop-in and pre-booked activities. V&A East Museum will also house a café, shop and retail space and three outdoor terraces with views across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In the galleries, objects traversing time and space will come together, from costumes worn by performance artist Leigh Bowery in Michael Clark’s 1987 ballet Because We Must, to ceramics by Nigerian potter, Ladi Kwali, and Japanese kintsugi. Large scale textiles by Eileen Gray, designs by Charles and Ray Eames, and beautiful, painterly botanical prints by the BritishTrinidadian textile designer, Althea McNish, will also be on show, as well as garments by the legendary fashion designers Dame Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo, contemporary streetwear, and intricate architectural models including those made by Bali-based IBUKU whose work champions sustainable and ecological practice.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
To date, V&A East has spoken to, and consulted with over 20,000 local people and creatives through consultation, education and career initiatives, pre opening events and activities, working in partnership with organisations across east London such as CREATE, Bow Arts, Hackney Quest, Blackhorse Workshop, Bromley By Bow Centre, Spotlight Centre, London Centre for Book Arts and Turning Earth, among many others, and will be scaled up over the coming months and years.
Empowering young people and opening pathways into the creative industries is fundamental to V&A East. An extensive outreach programme is well underway, consulting with over 20,000 people to-date. The V&A East Youth Collective Programme, a rolling 6-month paid opportunity for locals aged between 16 and 25, will play a key role in shaping strategic decisions in the making of V&A East from programming, to opening hours, ticket prices and more. Interdisciplinary design collective RESOLVE has been appointed as V&A East’s first Youth Workers in Residence to help shape V&A East’s future youth programming. RESOLVE has been working with organisations across the four Olympic boroughs, such as Hackney Quest and Blackhorse Road Responders, to run a series of creative workshops exploring young people’s connection to their local area as an opportunity for creative practice. Their work will culminate in a series of installations, designed and delivered in locations across the Olympic boroughs in collaboration with the young people.
V&A East is grounded in partnerships – with artists and creatives, local residents, universities, colleges and schools, East Bank and Here East partners and international collaborations. In late 2019, V&A East collaborated with creatives and venues across Hackney Wick for V&A East Friday Late: This Must Be The Place – a late night event exploring how artists and designers are responding to the changing landscape of east London.
Since 2019, Theaster Gates has been the V&A Research Institute (VARI) and V&A East’s joint Emeritus Fellow, supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, working on the research project The Question of Clay as part of a London-wide collaboration between the V&A, Whitechapel, Serpentine and White Cube Gallery. The partnership will culminate in a headline exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery this September, including a series of ceramic objects loaned from the V&A that have inspired Theaster throughout his career. The Whitechapel exhibition coincides with an intervention of new work made by Theaster in response to the V&A’s collections on show in the V&A South Kensington’s Ceramics Galleries this autumn.