As part of the recently reopened Denver Art Museum renovation project, the OMA transformed the design galleries of the iconic Martin Building to better display, display and communicate the museum’s strong holdings in architecture and design.
The redesigned space includes two new galleries and an educational studio named in honor of the designer and art collector Ellen Bruss.
OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu described the opportunity to work in Ponti’s seminal work as “an exciting exercise,” offering his opinion that “Much like its design philosophy, the role of design appears to be growing and diversifying exponentially. A direct consequence of the ubiquity of design is accessibility and literacy, and we wanted galleries to respond to these changes.
“The three spaces offer new ways of seeing and interacting with objects and materials,” he continued. “They present different spatial and programmatic identities, but collectively function as a platform to move discourse beyond mere consumption of design, incorporating movement, eerie perspectives and intimacy.”
By dissecting the existing space on Level 1 of the museum’s Stanton Gallery, Shigematsu and his team succeeded in creating a new 11,500 square foot space on two levels in the form of dual Mezzanine and Design galleries complemented by Studio Bruss.
The 7,750 square foot design gallery is anchored in a central open-air plaza surrounded by an alternating sequence of exhibition spaces with room for a diverse range of objects that can easily be adapted to meet the needs of exhibition of its curators. Above, the 1,900 square foot Mezzanine Gallery pays homage to Ponti’s changing volumes. Its display catalog offers visitors “layers of perspective”. The studio then functions as a bookend for the galleries and offers a fluid range of programming through a series of hinged walls that use the Italian designer’s composition techniques to better create an interactive hands-on experience.
“Working with the DAM team on the galleries and the architecture and design studio was a particularly meaningful way for us to continue our collaboration with the museum,” Christy Cheng, partner at OMA, said in a statement. “Architectural and design objects are objects that people encounter every day, and we loved working with DAM to think about how best to tell the stories behind these objects so that the visitor understands design as a process. “
Two permanent exhibitions will inaugurate the new spaces focusing on Ponti’s work as well as the re-examination of DAM’s own collection. Attendance is still very limited due to precautions related to COVID-19. You will find more information on visiting the museum here.