Following the opening of ten new exhibition spaces at the gallery earlier this year, Caruso St John has overhauled the oldest parts of Tate Britain‘s Millbank building to create new education and events rooms in spaces that were previously inaccessible to the public.
The new staircase spirals down from the centre of the domed rotunda, where a surface of monochrome terrazzo recalls the patterned mosaics of the original marble floor. As well as leading to new classrooms, it brings visitors down to the new Djanogly Cafe and renovated Rex Whistler restaurant, which features the restored 1920s mural The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats.
A circular balcony around the rotunda had been closed since the 1920s, but has now been revamped to create a first-floor cafe and members lounge with a 14 metre-long bar.
Elsewhere on this floor, the architects removed partitions to reopen the interior of the Grand Saloon. An original Victorian ceiling has been restored and clustered pendant lights were added, creating a large space that can be used for events.
The project also included the reopening of the building’s Thame-side entrance and the addition of a new dedicated entrance for school groups.
“The new Tate Britain opens up the Millbank entrance to reassert and enhance the original grandeur and logic of the galleries,” said Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis. “Adam Caruso and Peter St John have created new spaces out of old and artists have helped to articulate a new sense of the public realm,” she added.
Tate Britain first opened in 1897 as the Tate Gallery, showing a small collection of British art. Since then it has expanded to encompass four UK sites and over 70,000 artworks.
To commemorate the opening year, Caruso St John furnished the new gallery spaces with tables, chairs and benches by designers active during the British Arts and Crafts movement.