Renzo Piano has designed an extension for Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museumread more »
The Museum of Contemporary Art has the most glorious double frontage in Sydney, overlooking both Circular Quay and the Rocks. Yet the shortcomings of its structure – a 1930s designed sandstone block, formerly the home of the Maritime Services Board – were exacerbated as the museum’s exhibitions, and its crowds, expanded. Poor circulation and access, a cramped foyer, and a façade that didn’t immediately indicate the presence of contemporary art, were increasingly problematic. A long-delayed $53 million redevelopment, designed by Sam Marshall in association with the New South Wales Government Architect’s Office, was completed in 2012.read more »
Toyo Ito has been awarded this year’s Prtizker Prize, becoming the 37th recipient of the architectural world’s highest honour. Describing him as a ‘creator of timeless buildings,’ the Pritzker Jury lauded Ito’s ability to create architecture that ‘projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy, and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality.’read more »
Long, sleek, and sinuous like a snake, the China Wood Sculpture Museum coils itself into the urban domain and stretches wide, opening its doors to welcome guests in the icy city of Harbin, China. Located in the Heilongjiang province, Harbin is home to an International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival and Ice Lantern artworks. Adding to the cultural attractions of the region, the China Wood Sculpture Museum is open all year-round and offers both residents and visitors the freedom to develop their own experience inside the warmth and light of this magnificent space.read more »
Home to some of the world’s most respected industry shows – including Art Basel for modern and contemporary artwork and Baselworld for the watch and jewellery sector – the Messe Basel centre has recently completed a transformation, care of Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, who have taken a novel and exciting approach to the architecture of exhibition space.read more »
Daniel Libeskind's Museum of Military History has sparked contraversy and provoked thought. The building is a monument, not to heroes, but to bloodshed, brutality and social fragmentation.read more »
For you, what object captures the spirit of design? To celebrate the ground breaking of the new Design Museum in London, leading figures from the worlds of design and architecture, including the museum's Design Circle members, Zaha Hadid, Paul Smith, Norman Foster and Cecil Balmond, as well as Sir Terence Conran and John Pawson, were invited to nominate an object to go in a time capsule to be buried in the foundations of the new building. Designed by John Pawson, the new Design Museum, which will be the world's leading museum of its kind, is planned to open in 2015. The move will give the museum three times more space, free access to its unique collection and bring it into Kensington's cultural quarter where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery. The choices that were made for the capsule are a fascinating portrayal of the vast world design and architecture encompass. From Hadid’s model of the MAXXI museum in Rome to Thomas Hetherwick and Ingo Maurer’s choice of a standard light bulb, to Sir Terence Conran’s choices, which went from an iPhone 4S to a tin of Anchovies and a good bottle of 2012 Burgundy, the objects are a reminder of good design – from the simple to the cutting edge. But what will the future archeologists think of the capsule?read more »
The city of Shanghai is renowned for the way in which it mingles modernity and traditional culture. The results are often unique, always fascinating and sometimes quite eclectic. The Shanghai Museum of Glass is all these things. Located in a former glass-making workshop in the remote industrial Boashan district, the Museum tells the story of how glass making has evolved throughout history and how it might continue to evolve into Shanghai’s dynamic future.
A regular glass museum in the outskirts of Shanghai simply was not going to cut it. They needed to do something exceptional. That exceptional something has now taken on a life of its own. The museum is Phase One in the completion of the G+ Glass Theme Park – a monumental project set to breathe new life into the once tired Boashan district. Phases two, three and four? A sculpture yard, science park and business park. For now, though, only the museum is built. But it is not just any old Museum.
The Shanghai Museum of Glass is intended to turn the traditional concept of a museum on its head. Known as a ‘Type Two’ museum, the 3500 sqm building is intended to be engaging, interactive and hands-on. Leading an international team of architects, designers, artists, filmmakers and multimedia specialists, COORDINATION Asia – responsible for the design and concept of the museum interior – were determined to use the museum space to engage with people spatially and temporally. The museum is designed to be an experience that plays with our sense of the past, the present and the future. It is a space where all three converge.
This happens on a number of different levels. Firstly, the architects were careful to incorporate the original architecture into the design of the new building. The old structures – open workshop ceiling, rough floor and walls – are protected. In one sense, then, the old glass factory still stands, but it has been utterly transformed. The façade is dramatic, dazzling and designed to be noticed.
Externally, the building is mostly formed of dark U-shaped glass imported from Germany and coated in black enamel. The visitor to the museum will first be greeted by the cacophony of multi-lingual words about glass that are blasted into the U shaped glass, which is lit up by LED backlighting. The interior of the museum is similarly vivid and, like the exterior, betrays the museum’s obsession with glass and light.
Upon entering the museum, the first thing the visitor encounters is the Kaleidoscope Entrance. Polished steel facets reflect five multimedia screens showing images that artistically explore various aspects of humanity and its relationship with glass through time and space. Past this historical kaleidoscope is a blown-up picture of a glass sphinx, which marks the beginning of the ‘Journey through Time’ trail.
The second level of the Shanghai Museum of Glass is a creative gallery that showcases glass works from Chinese and international glass artists. The centerpiece of the room is a twenty-five metre neon artwork which showcases the words of Anton Chekov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Tilman Thürmer, the brains behind COORDINATION Asia, had the intention of designing the building to be like a piece of black crystal glass. Visually, he certainly succeeded. The building is brimming with black lacquered glass and LED lighting. There are mirrors everywhere – mirrors reflecting the walls, the artwork, the glass, the other mirrors, and the people who visit – merging all of these things together into a living, moving, dynamic picture. For a project that is so preoccupied with history (it is, after all, a museum), the message is clear: history is a dynamic, active process that is formed in a large part by our interaction with it, and by how we use it to understand the present and the future.
And this is just the beginning. The future Shanghai Museum of Glass is set to be an entire park dedicated to glass, with workshops, studios, labs and shops. The Museum itself will eventually host galleries, temporary exhibition halls, a library, shop and café. In the mean time, the museum has succeeded in drawing our attention to the incredible place that glass making holds in the cultural fabric of human kind. It is hard to imagine a better city for such a building, which asks us to engage with the sometimes fragile interface between tradition and modernity. Shanghai is very familiar with this tension, and its Museum of Glass has contributed masterfully to our understanding of how art can help us to comprehend the relationship of history to the present.+read more »