OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public

OMA / shohei shigematsu design three new rooms for DAM

 

OMA / shohei shigematsu have designed 11,500 sq. ft of new and renovated galleries as well as a hands-on studio for the denver art museum (DAM). the project is part of a major campus development initiative that is now complete and open to the public. you can discover OMA’s newly designed spaces within the original footprint of the gio ponti-designed martin building, where the museum’s collection of architecture and design is found. 

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
all images © james florio

 

the overall DAM campus reunification and building renovation project led by machado silvetti and fentress architects involved horizontally bisecting the museum’s original stanton gallery on level 1 to make room for new galleries. OMA partner shohei shigematsu and associate christy cheng took part in that initiative in denver and designed two exhibitions, as well as the amanda j. precourt design galleries, the joanne posner mayer gallery, and the ellen bruss design studio. the latter is an interactive hub where visitors can explore design ‘as a process’ by engaging directly with objects/ materials and creating new works. 

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
the 1,900 sq. ft mezzanine gallery with its mirrored ceiling surfaces

 

 

injecting references to gio ponti’s designs

 

rotated to the original grid of denver, the gio ponti martin building is a product of an urban condition – and OMA’s three new rooms amplify ponti’s intention. the interactive studio, the piazza-like design gallery, and the topographic mezzanine gallery act as distinct yet interconnected zones to stimulate ‘urban’ activity within the museum, like one might experience walking through city blocks. shigematsu states that ‘it was an exciting exercise, designing within the historic gio ponti building and drawing from his extensive, multi-faceted body of work. much like his design philosophy, the role of design seems to grow and diversify exponentially’. 

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
re-aggregation of platforms allows the space to be transformed at will

 

‘a direct consequence of design ubiquity is accessibility and literacy, and we wanted the galleries to react to these changes. the three spaces pose new ways of seeing as well as interacting with objects and materials—they present different spatial and programmatic identities but work collectively as a platform for shifting the discourse beyond mere consumption of design, by incorporating movement, odd perspectives, and intimacy’,  further explains shigematsu. 

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
a modular and flexible catalog of platforms facilitate the inherent diversity of displayed objects

 

the 7,750 sq. ft design gallery follows a logic of spatial typologies. an open, central ‘piazza’ is surrounded by perimeter spaces organized in an alternating sequence of rooms and islands. within the rooms, the viewer is surrounded by the displayed objects propped up centrally on islands and piers. this allows views from multiple vantage points. additionally, a modular and flexible catalog of platforms facilitates the inherent diversity of types, sizes and medium of design objects on display. the gallery is also capable of being efficiently rotated between different exhibitions through re-aggregation of platforms, allowing a permanent exhibition space to be transformed at will.

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the ellen bruss design studio is an interactive hub to explore design as a process

the 1,900 sq. ft mezzanine gallery, on the other hand, draws from ponti’s use of floating abstract planes to zone the gallery and curation. display structures, platforms, and signage are reminiscent of the use of shifted volumes in ponti’s work. objects are raised and lowered to different heights within logical boundaries, creating layers of perspectives. on the ceiling, mirrored surfaces add another layer of horizontal planes that reflect moments of the installation and the people walking through it. 

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
the ellen bruss design studio includes a library and workshop space among other programs

 

finally, the design studio responds to new ways of absorbing information and contextualizes artworks on view through hands-on experiences. a series of hinged walls can be deployed into fluid configurations for a range of programs such as library, lounge, workshops, presentations and other community-oriented activities. workshop walls employ ponti’s compositional techniques such as partial planes to organize and put a spotlight on various displays and activities.

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
view of the modular exhibition platforms

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islands are used to create multi-vantage points

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s galleries + studio at denver art museum open to the public
part of the amanda j. precourt design galleries with an exhibition on show

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: denver art museum design galleries and studio

client: denver art museum (DAM)

location: denver, CO, USA

photography: james florio

year: 2021

 

 

–OMA new york– 

 

lead designer: shohei shigemtsu, partner at OMA

associate: christy cheng

project architect: daniel rauchwerger

team: philippe audemard d’alancon, marie-claude fares, olivia haynie, shary tawil, thuy-trang trinh, andres villar 

 

 

–denver art museum–

 

curator: darrin alfred curatorial

assistant: jessica boven

graphic design: mcginty co. 

senior interpretive specialist: ann lambson 

director of exhibitions, strategy and gallery design: jill desmond 

design studio walls, ADG plywood platforms: cinnabar 

mezzanine gallery casework and panels: astound 

 

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