Focal Point Gallery

Located within the Forum in Central Southend, Focal Point Gallery is South Essex’s principal gallery for contemporary visual art. With its incorporation into a larger cultural complex comprising Southend Library and College and the University Of Essex, it adopts a new model of gallery development. Manalo & White worked closely with the director, curators, exhibition installers and artists to improve the accessibility and transparency of the gallery to encourage library users and Southend residents to enter.

Within a very tight budget, we created a variety of versatile spaces; from the primary gallery which complies with GIS criteria for lighting, temperature, humidity control and security (enabling the loan of historic works from national collections), through smaller more permeable gallery spaces, down to archive cabinets and impromptu display areas for educational and community projects. To support local engagement, the versatile Project Space is reconfigurable for workshop, seminar, lecture and film presentations.

“Manalo & White have equipped us with a gallery of excellent standard which is now recognised at an international level and enables us to borrow works from important national collections. Their design physically and visually weaves the new gallery into the broader fabric of the larger building, a new cultural centre incorporating Southend municipal library with South Essex College and Essex University, whilst ensuring the gallery retains architectural independence.”

Joe Hill, former Focal Point Gallery Director

“I have been struck by how rigorously Manalo & White have researched their work and how sensitive and creative their vision has been. Their enthusiasm and efficiency has had a profoundly positive impact on the future of our organisation. I was so impressed that I asked them to undertake the design of our new gallery. ”

Andrew Hunt, former Focal Point Gallery Director

Photography by Morgan O’Donovan