At the British Museum, The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world displays an exciting new vision for how to understanding the history of the Islamic world and shows the cultural diversity of the vast region using a framed, inclusive perspective. The renovation was inaugurated in 2018.
The Islamic collection comprises a diverse spectrum of cultural artifacts from an immense area stretching from the Mediterranean to the Far East, from Africa to China, along a chronological arch that goes from the origins of Islam to the present date. Goppion was brought in to support the project and increase the interaction between art masterpieces, the museum's vision, and display cases. The company is particularly adept at taking the symbiotic relationship between art and engineering design into consideration.
The architects in charge; Stanton & Williams designed the project with a sense of order and clarity. The choice of the large format of display cases engineered by Goppion allows visitors a deeper insight into the objects on display. The large display cases shun the minimalist and impersonal model to vindicate the architectural connotation of the gallery, giving it a style of uniqueness and distinction from the rest of the museum, which becomes an integral part of the museum's message and communication.
The engineering and production of the gallery's display cases included a notable challenge, both from a quantitative and a qualitative point of view. The project scope includes:
- Sixty wall display cases
- Island display cases
- Table display cases
All of the display cases were of great dimensions and of a particularly high structural complexity (the island display cases have an exhibition volume of 28 m3). The parts that can be opened were wide and include a mechanical opening system. In the wall display cases, the hinged doors are suspended, so as to prevent possible deflection of the plates throughout time.
The large openings used to give staff easy access to the exhibition required particular attention to be paid to the seals and preventive preservation. Nevertheless, Goppion's patented magnetic gasket systems allowed them to achieve the highest quality presentations: given the standard requirement of major museums of a change of air every 10 days, the wall display cabinets have a (certified) performance of 1:40 and the island display cases of 1:15.
An equal effort was also required for logistics, both for moving the large glass sheets, and for assembling the display cases on-site which required a close and very articulate coordination with the museum's staff and which required the deployment, for over six months, of specialized installation teams made up of 18 individuals.