When Visiting the Museum…

Posted by on June 4, 2012

I have been thinking a lot about museum design these days. Museums have the regrettable reputation as cold, almost sinister, places where you will certainly get yelled at by a mean guard if you get too close to anything. This is not entirely unwarranted, (my parents and I had a bad time with an overzealous guard at the Getty Villa a few years ago), but when done well museum design can make the interaction between visitors and exhibits almost magical.

The Victoria & Albert museum in London can skew heavily to the austere, it is a huge, old, ornate building with serious, important artwork. However, the powers that be at the V&A are invested in making their space more accessible and interesting. Last fall, during the London design festival, the Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec installed this soft, inviting platform in a gallery at the V&A.

They toured the museum before deciding what kind of project they would undertake, and were drawn to the Raphael Gallery. The cartoons are huge, and patrons have a hard time really seeing them. This is the kind of gallery that breeds museum fatigue.

The addition “Textile Field” provided a comfortable place to rest and contemplate the art on display. From the brothers’ website:

“Our intention is to propose a different, casual approach to freely experience what can be a quite intimidating environment, such as a museum.”

It looks amazing, I am disappointed that it was not a permanent addition to the gallery. From the looks of the photos patrons certainly enjoyed it.

Anytime a museum gets a little bit more playful and a little less uptight, we all win.

first photo from here, last two photos from here, all other photos from the Bouroullec Brothers’ website

4 Responses to When Visiting the Museum…

  1. amy h

    My girls would love that platform. We sometimes have troubles with the littles in museums. If you are ever passing through KC, the new Bloch Building at the Nelson is pretty amazing. It glows at night. And when we visit with the kids, it has a green roof, so we can just take them up there for a walk to get their sillies out.

  2. amy h

    Oh, and they even made the parking garage fun. Check it out: it’s below a reflecting pool, and it has skylights with ripply water and rays shining through it. So fun. I spend more time in the parking garage than necessary. http://openbuildings.com/buildings/nelson-atkins-museum-of-art-profile-3521

    • Sarah

      Wow Amy that parking garage looks awesome – I love the way sunlight through water looks.

  3. Diana Mieczan

    How brilliant! Those platform truly add a great vibe to the space. LOVE! Have a wondeful day. xo