Of all the different kinds of architectural project, a museum building is possibly the type of construction where the importance of the symbiosis between containment and content is best understood. More than a mere structure for housing, a museum is in itself a work that relates to art in an intimate way.
Yet the shapes and forms that extend throughout an empty area, nonetheless create a space filled with emotions in different formats. These range from sculpture, architecture or painting, to jewellery, tapestries or performance. Art is transformed in this space, where freedom emerges from the central essence or soul. In doing so it shakes up the awareness of all those passing through or living there in a contemplative way.
At The Decorative Surfaces The Decorative Surfaces we have taken a look at several architectural projects devoted to housing works of art. These are places concerned with containing the purest magic that human life is able to create and show us.
The exterior structure as hybrid architecture
From the outside, structures arise that clearly play with the available volumes and dimensions. For example, projects like the Twist Museum which straddles the Randselva River in Norway.
This first project was designed by the architectural firm BIG for the Scandinavian government. It is an example of the prevailing innovation that contemporary architectural projects for museums are required to address.
The work in question concerns an extension to the Kistefos Museum (Jevnaker, Norway). This space could be defined as a habitable bridge that both connects and permits transit.
The innovative floating structure of coated steel becomes a large-scale sculptural piece. This is achieved through what appears to be a warped beam with a magnificent twist in the centre. In this way it can be perceived as a natural extension of the surrounding terrain. As such it perfectly complements the landscape and offers visitors a comprehensive experience.
The Twist Museum
The Twist Museum features two main entrances positioned at either side of the Randselva River. These are connected through a fan-shaped layer of aluminium panels, which form the exterior geometry. This makes for an excellent combination with the slight displacement providing movement and volume.
On the north side, glass is used as a construction material for the enclosure. In this way, it opens up to the outdoors rewarding the visitor with a panoramic view. Moreover, this material is curved at the top like a skylight. As such it gives a complete and exciting feeling of light, as fleeting and constant as nature itself.
In addition, the structure invites you to descend the glass staircase that, in turn, serves as the basement’s upper envelope. Thus, the magic of the invisible nature of glass enhances and complements the visit.
Vibrant content within a museum
Just as the exterior structure approaches the artistic aesthetic, the interiors of architectural projects feature a sophisticated arrangement of materials that highlight and enhance the exhibits. Such is the case of the Swarovski Kristallwelten, in Wattens, Austria.
This exhibition space has an air of technology. The interior invites visitors to a dreamlike immersion with its large-scale delicate pieces of glass. Built in 1995 to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary, the exhibition space is divided into different rooms. In each one visitors are engulfed in sensations of fantasy as they pass through the 17 “Chambers of Wonder”.
As such, these interiors embracing artistic creations magnificently complement the structural designs of each room. Designed by great artists and prestigious creators, each of the rooms is intended as an inner journey. Thus, a perfect example can be found in the room designed by Arik Levy in 2018: Emotional Formation.
This space features six artistic pieces that encourage introspection. As they tour the museum, visitors are on a path of personal discovery.
However, aside from the narrative created through arrangement of the pieces, the curatorial pathway is subtly rendered thanks to the Ice Black COMPAC flooring created by Arik Levy.
COMPAC: an exceptional design
This surface makes it easy to navigate the route. While at the same time it manages to enhance the works of art on display with a distinctive inspirational sparkle.
This symbiotic interplay of flooring and display is underpinned by the quality of an exceptionally designed material that complements the exhibition.
Therefore with the marbling of its design, Arik Levy manages to draw the gaze in a way that is both hypnotic and evocative. In this way, Ice Black is, in itself, an evocation of the natural material that is sublimely aligned with the crystals with which Swarovski expresses its own unique character.
Accordingly this symbiosis between space and art clearly illustrates the importance of choosing a surrounding material that complements communication of the creative concept on display, accompanying the curatorial journey.
Materials that complete an artistic narrative
The interior of the Manarat Al Saadiyat Museum in Abu Dhabi (UAE) is intended to create the artistic sensation of a carefully designed exhibition presence.
This museum complex, built in 2009 and renowned as Abu Dhabi’s venue for art, cultural activities and community events, features a distinctive material that is part of the interior flooring.
Here, Terrazzo COMPAC has been chosen for the flooring, forming part of the avant-garde interior design.
Manarat Al Saadiyat: an artistic sanctuary
Located in one of the most culturally significant areas of the island of Saadiyat, Manarat Al Saadiyat is an artistic sanctuary committed to diversity and creativity. While encouraging local creation, it also welcomes international works of art. The venue provides a space to experience the artistic growth of Abu Dhabi, inspired and supported by a public programme.
The exhibitions in this touring space are both diverse and international. They range from artwork by Middle Eastern artists, to private collections such as that of Larry Gagosian in 2010, which included post-war works by Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Serra, Twombly, Warhol and Wool.
Manarat Al Saadiyat Museum was the first completed museum complex on Saadiyat Island, a district that aims to promote tourism and culture with impressive museums such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.
The museum exterior is characterised by a light elegant façade. With its white surface resembling a latticework shutter and its palm trees bordering the main entrance, Manarat Al Saadiyat Museum is a nod to the traditional and natural culture of the UAE.
Through these projects, the importance of interiors and exteriors in embracing the artistic world is evident. The delicacy of each of the structures, flooring and surfaces manages to convey a comprehensive artistic narrative, offering visitors a memorable experience. As a result, the synergies between spaces, structures and artistic works, successfully fulfil the aim of promoting culture.
Consequently, architectural projects for museums become a place where freedom emerges from the centre of the soul to awaken our consciousness leading to inspiring ideas.