The Metropolitan Museum of Art has revealed a $70 million revamp of its Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, which hosts fine art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Thai architect Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of New York-based wHY Architecture, has been selected to update the wing’s 40,000 square feet of galleries as part of a master plan to modernize the museum ahead of its 150th birthday in 2020. The renovation, slated to begin in 2020 and finish in 2023, will reorganize and celebrate pieces that, when the Rockefeller Wing opened in 1982, were described as being from “the primitive world.” Once wHY completes the overhaul, each gallery in the wing will be flushed with natural light and use the vernacular architecture of the region represented within. From the renderings (the project has only just entered the schematic design phase and may still change), wHY has chosen to cover the ceiling of each gallery in white “ribs.” The walls, partitions, and plinths in each space will share the same stone-like color, creating an unobtrusive yet naturalistic space for viewing the art. As the Met director Max Hollein laid out at a press conference this morning, the goal of renovating the Rockefeller Wing was to better integrate the intertwined histories of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas with the rest of the Met’s collection. The Rockefeller Wing presents art from over half of the globe in a single place, and the history of the artifacts therein is deeply connected with that of Greece, Rome, and every other place typically explored in the “mainstream” art history canon. With the new galleries, said Hollein, this art was coming out of the “heart of darkness,” both literally and figuratively. Embarking on an ambitious plan to reorganize the museum’s galleries would have seemed absurd a year ago, when the Met was struggling to hit its financial goals and growth was stagnant. According to the Met’s president and chief executive Daniel H. Weiss, revenue has been up 41 percent after the museum instituted a mandatory admissions policy for non-New Yorkers in March. The Rockefeller announcement also coincides with Hollein’s 100th day on the job and the Met is hoping that the stabilization of its income and leadership will allow the institution to focus on reactivating its expansion plans and acquiring new contemporary art. Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors is handling a $22 million renovation of the museum’s British decorative arts and sculpture galleries, expected to open in 2020. A $150 million skylight replacement in the European Paintings galleries has closed off half the wing and is expected to wrap up in 2022, but will bathe works by the Dutch masters in the unparalleled light once complete. Perhaps most excitingly, David Chipperfield’s $600 million redevelopment of the Southwest Wing may be back on the table, as the museum is currently scoping out its fundraising options.
Posts tagged with "Roman & Williams":
Roman and Williams has worked on high profile projects for NYC's Ace Hotel and the Breslin restaurant, The Standard Hotel and its "iconic" Boom Boom Room, the new food hall for Facebook's campus, celebrity homes for Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as their own two homes/design laboratories, founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have never launched a product line of their own. For their very first collection they collaborated with Waterworks on R.W. Atlas, a series of industrial yet elegant bathroom fixtures inspired by traditional American craftsmanship. A marble slab tops the Metal Two Leg Single Washstand (below), an Unlacquered Brass stunner that speaks to the collection's overall masculine/feminine power play. “R.W. Atlas is part of our ongoing interest in embracing the idea of American utility, but imbuing that with a sense of glamour and sophistication,” explains Standefer, principal of Roman and Williams. Like the rest of the collection, its primary components are made from brass and are available in a variety of finishes, including Burnished Nickel and Carbon. We appreciate the attention to detail in the knurling on the Single Hook and the Volume Control Valve as well as the consistency of aesthetic in the Exposed Thermostatic System. "This product marries a heritage of great American design perspective with decades of experience engineering and producing the highest quality products. Throughout the process, we were inspired by the idea of utilitarian objects that are made exceptionally well and that work beautifully for generations," said Peter Sallick, Waterworks’ CEO. While each piece is a genuine thing of beauty - a great example of what can happen when good design and quality craftsmanship come together - we wonder whether an entire bathroom-full of R.W. Atlas pieces would look like the set of some steampunk fantasy - albeit a very elegant one. Depending on your taste that might be precisely what you're going for, though we advise being choosey and balancing the Exposed Thermostatic Valve with Metal Wheel Handles, for example, with the comparatively simpler Wall Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Metal Lever Handles.