One of the big growth areas for Counterculture over the last five years has been the important work we have undertaken for our clients, large and small, on their capital expansion and refurbishment projects. This work now accounts for a significant part of Counterculture’s business, and has seen us undertake an array of key roles, in consultant as well as embedded capacities, on many distinguished projects including:
The New Tate Modern (Switch House/Blavatnik Building) – Project Director, Client Project Manager and Project Team;
Exhibition Road Quarter at the V&A in London – Project Director and Client Project Manager;
V&A Dundee – Operational Readiness programme and Project Team;
The New National Museum of Art, Architecture & Design in Oslo, Norway – Client Advisor, Project Director and Project Team.
We sit client-side on these projects, working directly with the host institutions to manage their projects, and liaising closely with the array of consultants and engineers who form the Design Teams. This has led to us forging close relationships with partners such as Gardiner & Theobald and AECOM who have a recognised specialism with our cultural clientele.
Whilst we work on capital projects across the life cycle of the project from conception and feasibility through to commissioning and handiver, perhaps our greatest area of expertise is in the latter stages – we are delivery specialists, and have developed our bespoke programme for delivery called Operational Readiness, which has been successfully implemented at the V&A in London and Dundee.
From this initial client-side work on the design & construction of these new capital developments, we have also established a related offer – the planning and delivery of art commissions, exhibition installations and art handling.
In particular, we have worked on the Hyundai Commissions in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, directing the Superflex and Tania Bruguera shows, and managing the complex processes and relationships that develop from the artist’s vision, the curator’s programme, the venue’s dependencies and challenges, and the operational reality of the final installation. In a space like the Turbine Hall, which is the beating heart of the Tate Modern experience, each of these pressures can be felt in different ways. As arguably London’s most important art space, the Turbine Hall has an important role in the daily, operational life of Tate Modern – it is a welcome space, an important junction (almost all visitor journeys at Tate Modern pass through it on one level or another), an event space, a space of Learning, a space for hire, and – of course – an exhibition room. Recognising and respecting these multiple functions is an important part of the delivery process.
The planning, development, installation and operation of major art commissions has much in common with the major capital projects on which we have worked. But in our case, we have the added advantage of coming from this world – we have all worked in museums and galleries, and we understand the curatorial perspective. The skills and experience we have further developed on capital projects has therefore been easy to transfer to our work with artists such as Tania Bruguera, and from a construction-perspective, especially so with Superflex, where the work involved considerable liaison with design professionals and engineers.
This understanding and synergy with our clients makes us the perfect partner – for the capital projects, we understand the artistic process and the importance of displays and conservation, and for the art commissions, we bring a knowledge of design & construction which benefits the delivery and installation.
Whether your project requires a project professional, an installation technician, a conservation specialist, a commercial strategist or a business planner, come and talk to us. Find more about the Capital Projects and Exhibitions team and the services they can provide here