The London Mithraeum or the Temple of Mithras is one of the most important recent discoveries of Roman Londinium, it has returned to its original location below the new European headquarters of the Bloomberg company designed by Lord Norman Foster.
|Year ||2018 |
|Architecture design ||Local Project, New York; Studio Joseph, New York |
Local Projects - the same firm that designed New York’s Memorial Museum - created a plan that completely relied on emotionalism and fascination to tell the historical story. The architects describe the project as austere and minimalist, immersed in a dark confined space seven meters below street level. The layout involves a refined design mixture of lights and fog banks used to create the illusion of walls and columns emerging from the ruins.
Visitors can walk around the perimeter of the temple and go inside via suspended walkways. At the back, the image of Mithras killing the bull illuminates the apse, and sounds of voices, bells, and horns complete the multi-sensory experience, enveloping the visitor in an aura of mysticism.
The Display Case
Access to the archaeological area is through Bloomberg SPACE, an art gallery on Walbrook Street which exhibits contemporary artworks on a rotating basis. Here, a spectacular Goppion display case hosts a selection of the archaeological specimens discovered during construction of the Bloomberg complex. The artifacts are extremely well-preserved thanks to humidity in the soil. The 600-object collection shows the richness and heterogeneity of the collected material with many different items.
One of the highlights of the display is a set of over 400 financial documents in the form of waxed tablets, including the earliest ‘manuscript’ known for the United Kingdom (57 CE), recounting business and everyday life in the nascent city of Londinium. The museological set-up, including the excavation and study of the specimens, was coordinated by Museum of London archeologists.
The large Goppion wall showcase (430 cm x 350 cm high) was designed by Wendy Joseph (Studio Joseph of New York), who worked closely together with Goppion staff to refine every detail. It has a single large door with specially designed motorized opening, allowing a full frontal view of the displayed objects without visual interruptions.
The interior design is singular and innovative, consisting of fabric-covered polyurethane pyramids of different shapes and sizes which make it possible to arrange the specimens in an original, irregular exhibition mosaic recalling Renaissance carved stone facades and their play of light and shadows. The layout is completed by tables created for the offices (which also host archaeological materials) and for the bar, with electrical outlets powered by batteries that can be recharged without the need to dismantle the structures.