At the centre of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is the Living Room, a vast open space with plush carpeted floor and comfortable seating. Scattered throughout is the collection of artefacts that Sir Robert and his wife Lady Lisa Sainsbury amassed.

Although Sir Robert always considered this an art collection he was unusual in doing so for the artefacts in question are not traditional works, they are cultural artefacts from Oceania, Africa, the Americas, Asia, the ancient Mediterranean cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and Medieval Europe. The collection is expansive, including many thousands of items.

The pieces are presented as they always were in the Sainsbury's home, with pieces mixed together, not separated by region or typology, a true mixture of artefacts.

The collection itself has a powerful message of what is art? In this instance art is an expression of the artist and their culture.