The New York Historical Society announced today that Czech architect Eva Jiřičná will design a new space for exhibitions and study on the 20,000 square foot fourth floor of the society’s Central Park West building.
The 3,000 square foot, two story gallery will showcase the society’s permanent collection of Tiffany lamps. The gallery, Jiřičná’s first major New York project, will feature one of the architect’s signature glass staircases. The floor will also be home to complementary entities, including the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture, the Center for the Study of Women’s History.
The design recalls earlier work, like the Jewellery Gallery at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and the residential interior for a client in Mayfair, London. In the Tiffany Gallery, islands of curved, floor-to-ceiling glass frame each lamp while allowing a 360 degree view. To be viewed as originally intended, the lamps will be illuminated in the darkened gallery. The gallery’s mezzanine, connected to the lower level’s exhibition via the glass staircase, contains additional lamps and a more traditional, rectilinear program. The programming on the mezzanine will feature exhibitions on the lamp-making process.
Though it sounds incongruous at first, there is a strong connection between the Center for the Study of Women’s History and Tiffany lamps. Clara Driscoll and her “Tiffany Girls” designed and fabricated many of Tiffany’s most famous lamps, including the Wisteria (ca. 1901) and Dragonfly (ca. 1900–1906). Jiřičná’s design will unify the themes expressed in the collection.
The space is expected to open to the public in early 2017.