Museum Shop MAO
Museum of Architecture and Design, Fužine Castle, Invited design competition
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2021
A single piece of architecture organizes the entire sales and exhibition space in the museum entry hall.
The existing museum shop MAO is located at the ground floor of the western part of Fužine Castle where the entrance to the museum’s exhibition spaces on the ground and first floor is enabled via the castle’s outer atrium. Unfortunately the current museum shop with its ticket office and design products has taken up most of the entrance hall space which tended to become a problem during the exhibition openings and large gatherings. In which case people preferred to stay in the outer atrium in order to avoid standing among the display products.
The new shop layout should enable the lease of space to larger private gatherings, the organization of round tables, smaller exhibitions and other events. At those times, most of the design products should remain on display whilst not taking up too much space. The challenge for us was to organize and place all the design products on display with a single, clearly expressed, design move.
In 1969, Superstudio presented a series of theoretical drawings called "Il Monumento Continuo" (The Continuous Monument), illustrating their belief that “by extending a single piece of architecture over the entire world, they could ‘put cosmic order on earth’”. Superstudio understood this particular act, in contrast to many Utopian schemes of the time, “as nurturing rather than obliterating the natural world” (MoMA, 2021) (Cline & di Carlo in Riley, 2002, p.72).
We took Superstudio’s idea of “a single piece of architecture" as the starting point for arranging the new museum shop where the entire sales and exhibition space would be organized with a single piece of furniture. We understand the design of furniture as the design of small architecture. A single, infinitely long architecture thus becomes a new spatial divider where the exhibition paths in all directions are clearly separated, the service and sales backspace visually indicated, together with the central part of the shop where there is enough free space for small exhibition, furniture testing and social interaction, oriented towards the external atrium.
At the same time, this “single architecture” acts as a kind of “cabinet of curiosities” with valuable design products and publications, which deserve to be sensibly placed and exposed. These will no longer need to be moved and stored away when the space is rented out for private events. The entrance hall with its cabinet of curiosities thus becomes just one of the Museum of Architecture and Design exhibition fields. The latter is extremely flexible in the new composition, as it is completely free of all fixed obstacles.
(MoMA, 2021): Retrieved from: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/934, Accessed: July, 2021)
(Cline, B. & di Carlo, T. in Riley, T. (ed.), 2002): The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, p. 72, New York: The Museum of Modern Art
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Project date: 2020
Completion date: 2021
Area: 83 m2
Client: MAO, Muzej za arhitekturo in oblikovanje / Museum of Architecture and Design
Photographer: Matevž Paternoster
Project team: SVET VMES, Ltd.: Jure Hrovat, Ana Kreč
Award: 1st prize, invited competition
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