Originally opened by the late Queen in 1983, Glasgow’s celebrated Burrell Collection museum was recently reopened by King Charles in one of his first engagements as monarch, following a six-year long, £68m refurbishment. With a bold focus on digital presence and interpretation, LCD screens from world-leading specialists, Leyard Europe, were paramount in the museum’s refit.
Meticulously curated by wealthy Glasgow shipping magnate and art collector, Sir William Burrell and his wife Constance, the prestigious collection was gifted by the couple to the City in 1944, alongside funds for the construction of a museum to house it. After years searching for the appropriate site, the resulting building is a Scandinavian-inspired, award-winning design established in the city’s Pollok Country Park.
Many of the Collection’s significant and unique objects have been in storage for decades or never been on permanent display, but they are now on show thanks to a 35% increase in the museum’s gallery space. Partnering with leading UK audio visual multimedia integrator, D J Willrich, the venue’s AV team introduced digital technology, comprising video walls, interactive and hybrid systems, in a majority of the 24 galleries and public spaces, regenerating the displays with innovative elements to help visitors engage with the stories behind the Collection.
Central to the museum’s digital innovation is a 4 x 6m video wall situated in the Access Core, which has steps rising from the basement to the main entrance at ground level. This impressive display plays stunning imagery of objects from the collection in giant format brought to life against the backdrop of the surrounding Pollock Park to encourage local visitors to visualise them in their local context. The video wall can also be used for presentations by staff members, and the area can also be utilised as an event space.
“At the forefront of the Burrell’s AV design is a series of bespoke LCD screens by top manufacturer, Leyard Europe. Leyard’s Clarity Matrix G3 LX46X 4k LCD video wall system with ERO-LCD protective glass was specified for the video walls throughout the museum to ensure extremely high-resolution image quality and robust build to withstand visitor interaction. Leyard Europe was really the only contender when it came to screen quality and realising the ambitions of the museum’s digital team.”
Project Manager, D J Willrich
The architecture of the building is open plan, with balconies between levels at the ends of corridors with views down to the floor below. Two long galleries on the main level draw visitors deep into the museum with pairs of 5m high by 2m wide screens set into recessed niches, two pairs in the long gallery and one pair in the shorter gallery. Object cases sit in front of the screens which display high resolution video of the objects in large scale so visitors can explore the detail and are designed to pull visitors through to the further reaches of the museum.
The museum houses a ‘Pater familias’ gallery dedicated to the Burrell family, examining their history. Here a further screen displays life size images of actors playing family members. A similar screen, displaying images from around Glasgow with animated people in the foreground, again some of them life-sized, links the Burrell Family and Glasgow galleries, whilst the Storytelling gallery, contains three video walls with light-hearted content, telling different stories about the objects displayed there, and a fourth video wall is loaded with interactive content.
Glasgow-based digital media specialists, ISO Design, created the media and content for the refitted venue, whilst leading interior fit-out specialists, Beck Interiors, managed the setworks for the corridor video walls and people-sized video walls, and design consultancy, Elmwood, managed screen fittings in the central Access Core and Storytelling gallery. The larger video walls required specialist servers, but the smaller devices are run using standard media players, still providing good quality imagery.
“The Leyard Europe team were very helpful and supportive throughout the decision and planning process, and the results are a beautiful, cost-effective solution,” says Jagger. “The galleries containing local content and references have been a big draw for local visitors, who have been delighted to see the artefacts contextualised in local surroundings. Some of the curator team were concerned about the quantity of AV being introduced, but everyone is completely thrilled by it. The Burrell’s digital evolution has been a huge success.”
“We are proud to be associated with the prestigious Burrell Collection and delighted to see our steadfast Planar Clarity Matrix displays adding value to the exhibition here,” concludes Leyard Europe Sales Manager, Luke Marler-Hausen. “Our partner D J Willrich was, as ever, a stalwart in delivering this spectacular installation during some very tough Covid years.”
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