Aberdeen Art Gallery

Aberdeen Art Gallery

Aberdeen City Council

At the heart of the reimagined Aberdeen Art Gallery is the concept of ‘Inspiring Art and Music’, reflecting the project ambition to develop a gallery where its exceptional treasures – and the stories they tell – are celebrated and shared through experiential design, accessible exhibitions, and new ways of engaging with visitors. Today Aberdeen Art Gallery is a place for everyone, delivering major new exhibition and education spaces (with 1,080 artworks on display compared with only 370 prior to the redevelopment) together with greatly improved visitor facilities, wayfinding and accessibility.

We were responsible for the interpretation and redesign of 19 exhibition galleries, together with the digital and signage strategies. Drawing on visitor research, the new displays were created with multi-generational audiences in mind and explore artists’ inspiration, creative processes and materials. A wide range of artforms and media, hands-on interactives, music, innovative display methods and engaging interpretation combine to create experiences, moods and stories for visitors. We have improved access, enjoyment and understanding of the collections through a range of interactives, family trails and sensory material.

Digital technology is integrated throughout including the four-metre wide Collections Wall which enables visitors to explore over 5,000 objects and influence future displays. Responding to the brief to encourage young people to the Art Gallery, we designed the innovative +music system with 500 curated tracks which visitors can listen to in each of the galleries, adding richness and diversity to their experience.


The contemporary extension on the top floor integrates exhibition, shop, roof terrace café and special exhibition galleries.

A 3D printed replica of a sculpture provides a hands-on sensory experience.

This interactive lets children dress up as a character portrayed in the gallery and then take their own digital portrait, which appears in a series of frames alongside.

A three-dimensional timeline with layered interpretation, incorporates cased objects alongside artworks, providing different ways to access the collection.

Paradise Lost explores the themes of Conflict and Harmony, juxtaposing dark angled surfaces with lighter walls.

We designed the innovative +music system which provides 500 curated tracks as ‘music to watch art by’, adding richness and diversity to the experience.

Tactile materials encourage visitors to explore some of the different media used to create the artworks in the gallery.

Signage on digital screens allows the client to easily update content through a content management system.

A palette of carefully selected materials, including granite, timber and bronzed finishes complements the architecture.

The McBey Gallery explores the life and works of James McBey incorporating prints, paintings, sketches, photographs, personal material and new digital content.

Exploring Art is an active gallery designed to engage families and young people and includes opportunities to create digital art which can be shown within the building.

The four-metre wide interactive Collections Wall contains over 5,000 artworks from the collection. Visitors can search and explore the collection, play games, vote for their favourites and influence future displays.

We developed Makers’ Kits to encourage exploration of different media, including watercolour, impasto and engraving, allowing visitors to touch and compare with the artwork on display.

We designed a children’s pack which provides prompts to look at artworks, ask questions and explore the artist’s intentions.

We created custom-designed sketchbooks to inspire visitors to draw and share their own work.

Fresh interpretation juxtaposed Rachel Mclean’s film, The Lion and the Unicorn, against portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, exploring Scottish identity and culture today.

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