Ben Kelly

The Cheapside Hoard

BKD were appointed to design the Museum of London's major temporary exhibition for 2013, 'The Cheapside Hoard; London's Lost Jewels', showcasing an extraordinary collection of late 16th and early 17th century gemstones and jewels. Discovered in 1912, buried beneath a Cheapside cellar, this was the first time in a century the Hoard's 500 pieces were to be exhibited in their entirety.

The exhibition explores the mysteries that surround the hoard and offers rich insights into its historical context at a time of craftsmanship, consumption and trade. BKDs design approach was to capture the Hoard at the centre of the exhibition, immersing the visitor within it. Contained within a layered landscape of clustered display case, the Hoard can be visually read in its entirety - creating a dramatic, glowing core to which visitors are drawn and from which supporting content radiates. Suspended jewels 'float' within cases, allowing layers of the collection to be viewed together while maintaining a visual transparency through the space.

A composition of charred and stained cedar panelling nods towards the Hoard's discovery from beneath the floor and its survival through the Great Fire. This materiality is offset by a rich colour pallet referencing the era to which the Hoard belonged.

ClientMuseum of London