In 1971 the Evening Standard newspaper led a public campaign for Somerset House to be transformed into a new public arts venue for London. Proposals were also aired for the relocation of the Tate Gallery to the site. This proved to be prescient: during the 1990s the opening of the Courtauld Gallery and river rooms and the replacement of the car park by the Fountain Court did indeed mark the next stage in the transformation of Somerset House.
On 29 February 2012, Her Majesty The Queen officially opened Somerset House East Wing, one of London's most beautiful and iconic buildings. The official launch of Somerset House East Wing comes after 18 months of restoration, which began when King’s secured a 78 year lease for the building in 2009. The interior has been stripped of alterations made over the years, new lifts have been installed and the basement floor lowered. Original features, such as cornices and fireplaces, have been refurbished. The interior decoration has been carefully conceived to complement the historic setting of the building. Designers have re-introduced colours in keeping with the Georgian style, whilst creating a fresh and modern interior suited to a working building for the 21st century.