Sysco Productions



The Auckland Project has transformed a 19th century Grade II listed bank and adjacent school in Bishop Auckland’s Market Place into a brand new gallery dedicated to the art, history and culture of the Spanish Golden Age. 

Comprising ten galleries spread over three floors, the Gallery will contextualise Francisco de Zurbarán’s paintings Jacob and His Twelve Sons, which have hung in nearby Auckland Castle for over 250 years. The art on display will bring context to his work, and the period at large, in a way that is exciting, immersive and thought-provoking.

As the first gallery in the country dedicated exclusively to this art, the Spanish Gallery will showcase a series of Spanish paintings and sculptures from public and private collections, 
including a partnership with the Hispanic Society Museum & Library which will see twelve works travel from New York to be exhibited in the UK for the very first time. 

Exhibits will include devotional art, portraiture and still lifes by the period's key figures – El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez and Murillo –alongside many other exceptional artists whose names are almost unknown outside Spain.
Complementing and enhancing the exhibits within the gallery spaces, audio and visual elements have been incorporated and integrated by Sysco Productions. An exhibition highlight includes a synchronised sound and light show, that brings to the fore specific symbolic details of an impressive stained glass window. Drawing attention to the meanings behind different panel sections, this automated show is activated by visitors entering the area, and also combines audio narration and music to deliver this unique interpretation. 

Across the galleries, atmospheric soundscapes provide a musical backdrop that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the culture of sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain. Period music is triggered to play when visitors enter the space, producing the perfect setting for the artworks housed within. Additional information can also be accessed via a display screen which presents an animated video acting as a supporting component and extra layer of insight.

This project was led by award-winning designers Studio MB, who worked with curators and colleagues from The Auckland Project, as well as fit-out contractors Marcon Fit Out.

Clare Baron, The Auckland Project’s Head of Exhibitions, says: “This is an exciting moment for all of us at The Auckland Project, as plans for the Spanish Gallery - many years in the making - are now becoming a reality. Thanks to the creativity, experience and dedication of our design team and fit out contractors, we look forward to welcoming visitors later this year.”

Tom Spooner, Senior Project Manager at Sysco Productions, comments: “We’ve really enjoyed being part of this exciting project, and it’s a fantastic achievement to be able to support the team’s endeavour’s in creating an immersive exhibition that truly animates the exceptional works of art on display. The impact of using audio within the spaces really helps to bring to life the content and the results are stunning.”

Craig Mann, director of Studio MB, adds: “The Spanish Gallery will provide visitors with a way of seeing Spain through its art, whilst also showing that this is art worth looking at. The result is an immersive visitor journey and experience that offers rewards, surprises and pauses, creating something imaginative and entirely unexpected. We are pleased to have worked with a creative, experienced and professional project team to bring the Spanish Gallery to life.”

The Auckland Project’s Spanish Gallery opens to the public on 15 October 2021.

Images © The Auckland Project and House of Hues.

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