Museum specialists The Benbow Group in partnership with designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) and Exeter City Council have won the prestigious 2012 National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) Design Partnership award for the stunning displays at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM).
The award recognises excellence in interior design and shopfitting contracting with emphasis on the special partnership between designer/architect and contractor that high quality contracts such as these demand. The museum partnership won the Non-retail category.
Newton Abbot based shopfitters The Benbow Group won the museum contract in the face of stiff international competition. Their first involvement with RAMM was during the 1999 redevelopment of its World Cultures galleries. Since then they have won major contracts including the Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Islamic Arts Museum in Doha, Qatar, and are currently working on the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. Bespoke museum fit-out work now makes up 20% of their business. This is their first award in this category.
Over 175,000 people have visited the RAMM since it reopened in December, a huge number for a city of 120,000. It has been shortlisted for the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 2012 awards and the Museums & Heritage 2012 awards. Ghostwriter, RAMM’s new digital art by award-winning Blast Theory, has received an honourable mention from the judges of the prestigious American Association of Museums Muse Awards.
The NAS Design Partnership winners were announced at an Award Ceremony at the London Film Museum in London on Thursday 17 May 2012. The judges said “The refurbishment of this beautiful Victorian museum in order to make its collections more accessible, understandable and enjoyable is a great success and a joy to experience. This project could have only been built with the client, design and fit-out team working on a level plain with full understanding of each other’s goals and practices. The metal and glass cabinetry is exacting, the interpretation creative and the visitor experience dynamic – a feature often missing in this type of project. The priceless geological, ethnographic and natural history collections are only enhanced by the protective cabinets that surround them which appear almost unnoticeable yet somehow elevate the status of the exhibits on show. The younger visitors are the acid test in these types of museums, and I didn’t see one that wasn’t entirely captivated by the experience they were having in the space.”
The RAMM is a member of thebestof Exeter, find out more here