Hollywood Costume, Victoria & Albert Museum, October 2012
"It would be difficult to imagine a more creative, productive and co-operative working relationship than that which 'Cabinet War Rooms' established with its designers, Casson Mann, in putting together the Churchill Museum. The ready access we were given to their advice and their frequent presence on site, accompanied by their unique ability to understand, interpret and translate into imaginative design solutions our most vague and notional of ideas and needs produced a museum which, rightly, receives constant professional credit and excited public approval over four years after its opening. A project which had to be completed against the clock and against background of desperate fund raising, was made all the easier by their professionalism, responsive approach and flexibility. I have nothing but genuine praise for the company, its partners and its staff."
Phil REED, Director of the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms
Dinah Casson and Roger Mann formed Casson Mann in 1984 as an interior architectural design company. Since 1994, the practice has focused primarily on work in museums, designing whole museums, permanent galleries, temporary and touring exhibitions, multi-media installations, masterplans and interpretive strategies for many of the major museums in the UK. We create work of the highest caliber that we deliver on time and on budget.
We have made temporary exhibitions for the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Design Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Design Council and the Imperial War Museum. We have created permanent galleries for the V&A Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, the Science Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, Greenwich Observatory and the Natural History Museum. Five years ago we opened our first complete museum – the Great North Museum in Newcastle – with galleries covering natural history, archaeology, ethnology and geology; this received the highly prestigious DBA Gold award for Design Effectiveness.
We have also worked on projects in Europe, America, and the Middle East, with overseas work continuing in Philadelphia, Lascaux and Bordeaux.
We have made object-based galleries and galleries that are almost totally digital – and many that fuse the two. Our projects have been installed in large and small museums, historic and contemporary spaces, indoors and out. We are experienced in planning projects from concept and design stages through to installation.
Although we principally work in the museum sector, our skill is really working at the forefront of visitor focussed thinking: transforming places and stories into spatial experiences. Using our skills as interior architects to use the space itself as one of our main tools. Whatever the subject matter, our approach is visitor focused, but we treat them – and our subjects – with respect and interest. We like to hear what they think and we enjoy working with their input.
We have a particular interest in place: we have worked on three biographical museums – Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin and Konstantin Stanislavski – all of which are built in a place close to the heart of the subject: the Churchill War rooms in London, Franklin Court in Philadelphia and the Stanislavski Factory in Moscow.
We have also made studies of how interior spaces can share their history with visitors in quiet and unexpected ways.
We have created a team of 16 people, some of whom have worked with us for many years, and we now have a shared knowledge, which is remarkable in its breadth and depth. Our four long-standing Associates have between them a wealth of experience developed from running many types of project.
Roger and Dinah were both made Royal Designers for Industry in 2007, in recognition of 20 years of designing work that is of ‘sustained design excellence, of aesthetic value and of significant benefit to society’. In September 2012 we were honored at the D&AD/50 awards ceremony, for ranking in the top 10 most awarded design studios of the last 50 years.
Dinah Casson RDI, FRCA, FCSD
Roger Mann RDI, BA