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Challenging counter for the V&A

Regular visitors to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London often take out membership to better support the organisation.

The value of becoming a member is currently being upscaled with a new Members’ Room which is being created in a large room that was previously not accessible to the public.

Diespeker has made a bespoke counter for the new room, a detailed undertaking that has presented challenges.

The conglomerate chosen for the project is CG014, a grey and white material that offers chunky detail with a satin finish.

Blocks of the conglomerate (each weighing a quarter of a tonne) were sliced into large pieces then shaped to suit the design of the counter.

The front elevation is a significant curve that whilst beautiful, proved top-heavy with regards to installation. “The curve is such that the counter ‘wanted’ to fall over,” explained Diespeker MD John Krause.

As well as the challenges of the installation, transporting and onsite handline of the large pieces of conglomerate were quite a test of Diespeker’s skills. Around 15 pieces were manoeuvred into position during the installation period.

The team also supplied and fixed cladding and shelving behind counters and vanity top with splashback and apron to the main restroom.

Other elements of the project included the cutting down and renovation free issue of some very old, damaged White Carrara and Nero Marquina marble and the installation of treads and risers as well as skirting and wall string.

The overall design of the Members’ Room by Carmody Groarke merges a contemporary feel in the Grade 1 space.

Membership of the V&A costs just £64 or £35 if you are under 26. A great way to support this great institution (and you get to admire the new terrazzo bar as well!).

Render image: Forbes Massie, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Timescale: Approx four weeks work over a period

Contractor: Realm Projects

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