JA Projects and A Practice for Everyday Life will deliver Why We Make sections with artist Larry Achiampong

JA Projects team portrait © Rick-Pushinsky WEB

Source: Rick-Pushinsky

The JA Projects team, with Jayden Ali standing at the centre

V&A East has picked a team bringing together Southwark-based practice JA Projects and graphic design studio A Practice for Everyday Life as the winners of its Why We Make galleries competition for the under-construction Stratford Waterfront centre.

The firms will work with east London artist Larry Achiampong on the galleries, which will be located across two floors and explore global creativity and making through a contemporary lens – bringing together more than 500 objects from the V&A collection in the process.

The team was selected from a shortlist including Citizens Design Bureau with Hayatsu Architects; Neba Sere and Rose Nordin; Freehaus x IDK + Bergini; OMMX with HATO; and Studio C102, Mobile Studio Architects and Manijeh Verghese with Sthuthi Ramesh.

V&A East said the winning team impressed the selection panel with coherent, dynamic, and captivating concept designs that showed their thoughtful approach to sustainable materials and local production and a deep understanding of east London.

A commitment to increasing representation and creating tangible opportunities for young people through the design process, bolstered by the inclusion of artist Larry Achiampong, was also a strong consideration.

Early concept design for ‘Our Place In The World’ section of V&A East Museum’s Why We Make Galleries © JA Projects WEB

Source: JA Projects

Early concept design for the ‘Our Place In The World’ section of V&A East’s Why We Make galleries

V&A East project director Claire McKeown said JA Projects, A Practice for Everyday Life and Achiampong had produced a “fantastic” response to the competition brief.

“Their passion for east London and to create inclusive spaces, take an audience-first approach, and embed sustainability within every step of their design process shone through,” she said.

“We’re thrilled to have a team that includes an exciting emerging architecture practice, established 2D design talent and a thought-provoking artist.

“We can’t wait for them to challenge us with new approaches to museum display and ensure we’re putting the needs of our audiences first to create spaces where everyone feels welcome at V&A East Museum.”

A Practice for Everyday Life team portrait © A Practice for Everyday Life web

Source: A Practice for Everyday Life

A Practice for Everyday Life

JA Projects founding director Jayden Ali said that as someone who grew up in Bethnal Green – alongside Achiampong – his practice wanted to be part of a bold and ambitious project that sought to dismantle historic barriers and amplify the voices of overlooked artists, designers and makers.

“At the heart of our proposal is a vision of the museum as ‘a museum between cultures’ – a framing that honours the V&A’s heritage of presenting crafted narratives from across the globe, and also encapsulates the diversity of the four boroughs surrounding the Olympic Park,” he said.

“East London means home for every member of our team. We’re honoured to contribute to east London, the place of our grandparents, parents, children and friends.”

Larry Achiampong © Studio Larry Achiampong WEB

Source: Studio Larry Achiampong

Larry Achiampong

V&A East, designed by O’Donnell & Tuomey, is due to open in 2025. Its Why We Make galleries will avoid traditional art historical chronologies and stylistic groupings to tell stories across time and geography and expand the traditional canons by championing global, diverse and previously marginalised narratives.

The galleries will also explore how creative practitioners past and present give purpose to their work to change the world for the better. Displays will include inspirational and innovative objects, from born-digital works to those tackling the climate crisis, artworks about health and wellbeing and design projects addressing inequality and social injustice.

External render V&A East Museum_c_O’Donnell & Tuomey

Source: O’Donnell and Tuomey

External render view of  the V&A East Museum at Stratford Waterfront, designed by O’Donnell & Tuomey