The Mitchell Library, Glasgow, UK
As part of an on-going cultural collaboration between Glasgow City Council and the Province of Lucca in Italy, it was agreed that Glasgow City Council would host an exhibition of Italian art in 2004. It was decided during a visit from the Mayor and officials of Barga in November 2003 that the renowned Mitchell Library, which first opened its doors to the public in July 1877, would provide a suitable venue for this internationally significant exhibition.
The exhibition, running from April until June and entitled “The Enchanted Land: Puccini’s landscapes, lights and colours” took its theme from the landscapes of the Lucchesia as seen through the eyes of British and Italian painters from the middle of the 19th century to the present day.
As part of an existing programme of redesign, the magnificent main reading room in the Library was renovated in preparation for the exhibition which represented a significant number of artists working in the Province of Lucca in the 19th and 20th centuries, including Scottish artist John Bellany who had lived near Barga for some years. Panelock Systems Limited’s patented freestanding display walls, Gallery Display System 200, were chosen to provide the requisite amount of display space. The System 200 units, which can stand alone or be linked together to form numerous display configurations, were able to carry the considerable weight and size of paintings comprising this exhibition whilst at the same time being unobtrusive so as to allow full appreciation of both the artwork and the beauty of the architectural features. The exuberance and vibrancy of Italian towns and countryside captured in the paintings was complimented by the spaciousness and timeless grace of the room. The Panelock lighting system was also utilised to further enhance the exhibition.
Since the inaugural exhibition in 2004 both the System 200 units and lighting system have been constantly in use allowing an enormous variety of exhibitions to be staged.
In keeping with its continuous record of useful and successful progress, the Mitchell’s redesign for the 21st Century is innovative and exciting and allows it to keep pace with increasing demand for information, entertainment and multi functional centres of excellence.