BOM 2.0

Co\\aborative Lab:oratory, Birmingham, 2019



Photography by Alessandro Columbano     Download Original

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BOM (Birmingham Open Media) has developed an international reputation for art, science and technology

They increased their portfolio to support a number of fellows, events and artistic programmes, and as such, needed to reconfigure their space to accommodate this shift. The project looked to enhance their premises, occupying a retail unit in a 1960’s commercial block in Birmingham city centre. Economically, the organisation needed to be financially resilient and the re-design of the original space was essential to achieving this with new facilities to increase revenue.

Its brief was to extend the provisions for co-working/studio space and gallery floor area, refurbish the cafe, improve the internal environment, whilst making it more accessible throughout all levels. It had an ambitious aim to design the gallery with autism-friendly features including lighting and colour-ways. The design process included focus groups with a local autism group and technical exhibition support. A new lighting feature was developed with DAL to create a industry-standard gallery light to throw an even distribution at a suitable frequency.

BOM 2.0 included a new steel mezzanine and retaining key features such as the timber partition studwork as traces of its history. Dividing walls were added as sliding partitions to accommodate larger events. A new circulation strategy was developed including a hydraulic lift to have level-access to all floors, negotiating its complex split levels from the building’s original use. The exhibition areas vary in volume to allow for different curatorial approaches whilst always being connected to the urban setting through the large glazed façade that wraps around all gallery spaces. Bespoke steelwork to the stair and mezzanine contributed the industrial aesthetic with the exposed mechanical servicing.

Finishes and furnishings were selected based on their sustainable impact and emphasis on natural materials including cork seating, marmoleum flooring and recycled plastic panelling. Existing elements were reused where possible, for example, timber partitions, internal linings, aluminium framed glazed panels and doors. The results created a softening of the ambience to a warm comfortable aesthetic.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was not provided.


  • Begun: Oct 2018
  • Completed: Aug 2019
  • Floor area: 510m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £186,000
  • Funding: Public grant + private funding
  • Tender date: Mar 2018
  • Procurement: design & build
  • Address: Dudley Street, Birmingham, B5, United Kingdom

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