The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Bartlett’s Chee-Kit Lai to Co-Design Manchester Museum’s South Asia Gallery

30 October 2020

Manchester Museum has announced that Studio C102 and Mobile Studio Architects will form the design team for the new South Asia Gallery, due to launch in August 2022.

South Asia Gallery, Manchester Museum: Proposed internal perspective view of gallery with performance space beyond. Design by Studio C102 in collaboration with Mobile Studio Architects. Studio C102 X Mobile Studio Architects © April 2020

Mobile Studio Architects, founded in 2010, is the private practice of Chee-Kit LaiSenior Teaching Fellow and Director of Exhibitions at The Bartlett. In 2016 it was awarded the ARUP Prize for Emerging Talent in Architecture at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Studio C102 was founded by Kyriakos Katsaros, who studied and taught at The Bartlett and is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Brighton. Both practices are based in Dalston, East London.

The new gallery will be a permanent addition to Manchester Museum, which is part of the University of Manchester. Studio C102 and Mobile Studio Architects have formed a private consortium and will work with the British Museum and the South Asia Gallery Collective to create and curate what will be the first and largest gallery in Britain to focus on the histories, identities and contributions of South Asian diaspora communities across the UK. The South Asia Gallery Collective comprises members of these communities and, during the appointment process, they drew attention to Studio C102 and Mobile Studio Architects’ commitment to nurturing ideas, co-curation and their thoughtful approach to dealing with sensitive subjects.

The new space will also be the largest permanent gallery within Manchester Museum. The 372 sq m space will house a culturally and thematically diverse exhibition of artifacts, hand-picked from the British Museum and Manchester Museum’s rich collections. These will orbit a central performance space that will integrate contemporary perspectives into the gallery’s wider narrative.

Chee-Kit Lai and Kyriakos Katsaros commented:

Studio C102 and Mobile Studio Architects are excited to be working with Manchester Museum, the South Asia Gallery Collective and the British Museum to co-design the new South Asia Gallery. The new gallery will inspire the South Asian diaspora community to connect with its own heritage and open up Manchester Museum’s doors to new audiences.


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