Stewarts wins contract on UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery

  • 7 Feb 2022

Midlands-based building services engineering consultancy, Stewarts, has won a major contract to support the design and construction of the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery at The Reel Store in Coventry.

The company is supplying consultancy services for two contractors, Staffordshire Mechanical Solutions (SMS) Ltd and Claddagh Electrical, as part of a multi-million-pound project delivering an innovative experiential arts space within the basement of a distinctive post-war building which was formerly home of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper.

Stewarts will provide expertise in mechanical and electrical design engineering throughout the new venue, which includes a main exhibition space comprising an 800 square metres fixed projection mapping canvas with fourteen 4K laser projectors accompanied by a spatially adaptive sound system.


Main contractor, Harrabin Construction, is overseeing the transformation of the old reel store – once home to rolls of paper used for the Evening Telegraph’s newsprint –   into a permanent visitor attraction which will become a prominent feature of Coventry’s City of Culture programme in spring/summer 2022. The gallery occupies vacant space below the main building, on Corporation Street in the city centre, which is currently being converted into an 88-bedroom boutique hotel.   


James Anstey, Electrical Design Engineer at Stewarts, says: “Stewarts are proud to play a part in the delivery of this fantastic cultural asset for the city, the first of its kind in the UK. We are consulting at every stage of this outstanding project, from the initial preparation and briefing through to concept design, spatial coordination, technical design, manufacturing and construction, handover and use.

“The Reel Store is the latest of many high-profile developments in the arts, leisure and entertainment sectors which have utilised Stewarts’ specialist expertise.”


The Reel Store project is funded by the government’s Getting Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Midlands Engine and West Midlands Combined Authority. The first major exhibition will be Machine Memoirs: Space by internationally acclaimed artist Refik Anado.

Described as a 360-degree cinematic experience with 3D audio, the exhibition uses artificial intelligence (AI) to reimagine two million publicly available images of space taken by NASA satellites and telescopes, and the International Space Station, capturing the deepest regions of outer space. 

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, says: “The Reel Store is a hugely exciting venture. We are delighted that our partners have backed the vision for this permanent new visitor attraction, transforming old media into new media, as part of the legacy of our year as UK City of Culture.”

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