I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the new areas of Tate Britain before the formal opening on 19 November 2013.
Going in the Millbank entrance (ie the original Gallery entrance) you pass through a very white entrance hall and then you are in a wonderful space with a high domed glass roof. This was always here and was where the information desks used to be. But it seems so much brighter now and, in the four niches, there are artworks. The floor has an interesting scalloped patterns which was apparently what was here back in the 1920s. Above is the new Member’s “Room” accessed by staircases at the side and below accessed by a new spiral staircase are the new cafe and the refurbished restaurant with the famous Rex Whistler murals plus archive rooms and education spaces.
This scalloped design is cleverly used as it is echoed in the balustrade around the spiral staircase.
Downstairs on one side is the Djangoly cafe (the main catering facility) and on the other is the Rex Whistler restaurant. Unfortunately I could not get any pictures of the Whistler restaurant with its conserved murals. The place was still being set up when I was there but I did get a peek in and I am sure it will be really fanatastic when all the tables are in place etc! Across the way is the main cafe which just feels much more spacious not to mention light and airy compared to the old cafe. Nice furnishings and lights. This has doors which open out so I guess in summer it will be possible to get out into the air and have your tea.
Heading back up the spiral staircase and you get this wonderful view
Then going to the upper level you find the Member’s Room is not really a room at all but is the space wrapped around the rotunda at this upper level. Great views up and down and some really interesting furniture which I carelessly forgot to photograph.
Here though is a picture looking down to one of the niches at the entry level.
Oh and here is one of me at the first floor level, just to prove I was there!!!
Just off the walkway round the rotunda is what is called “The Grand Saloon”. This is the room over the front entrance and apparently used to be the Director’s office. It a nice space and will I am sure be a great place for drinks receptions. It has a lovely ceiling which you cannot quite see in the picture. There are windows to the front and the side. The view below is towards the Clore entrance.
This certainly is a great piece of renovation and at last Tate Britain has a proper space for members, which feels like a destination in its own right.