Contract - Stock Art: Roth + Sheppard designs the Denver Art Museum Shop to marry with the museum’s iconic architecture

design - features - retail design



Stock Art: Roth + Sheppard designs the Denver Art Museum Shop to marry with the museum’s iconic architecture

16 August, 2010

-By Danine Alati


“It takes a bit of maturity for an architect to do something within another architect’s building and to recognize that it’s important to be respectful of the original architecture,” admits Jeffrey Sheppard, principal at Roth + Sheppard, the Denver-based firm tasked with creating a shop for the Denver Art Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind. The key was to design something that complements but does not compete with the existing museum’s iconic architecture, and the design team wanted the shop to look like it belongs within this museum rather then being an intrusion on it.

“The goal of the project was to provide a retail component that stayed true to the Libeskind design while offering functional and flexible fixturing that presents the product well,” says Denver Art Museum Shop manager Greg McKay. Sheppard explains that pragmatic goals included increasing the shop’s visibility and identity, visitor traffic, and sales. The former museum shop was poorly located, and after conducting a location analysis, Roth + Sheppard convinced the Board that moving the store to a void space in the lobby would be most beneficial. While many museum shops are designed to catch people on their way out, this one is located to the right of the entry but to the left of the exit, so that people feel invited in to mill around, sit down, and relax in the café area. Also, setting the shop in this spot positions it as a pathway to the future Clifford Still Museum that is being constructed across a courtyard beyond the Denver Art Museum.

“The lobby was designed as a continuous, flexible, open space, and we didn’t want to ruin that,” says Sheppard. An emotional or aesthetic objective was to create a store that would fit in with the dynamic architecture and leave a lasting impression on visitors. The creation of what is known as the “invisible threshold” helped achieve all project goals. Large panes of glass that subtly distinguish the retail component from the rest of the lobby, with no doors delineating the museum shop, this invisible threshold offers a noninvasive transition zone.

After crossing through this invisible threshold, visitors are drawn deeper into the space, thanks to Roth + Sheppard’s crafty design and merchandising scheme. “Visitors then make the connection between displaying merchandise and art,” Sheppard explains. “Merchandise is different than art in that you see it, touch it, and buy it.” A series of illuminated columns—one authentic column needed for the building’s structural support and the others designed by the architects to replicate the real thing—display smaller items for sale in a flexible, modular fixture. A massive jewelry counter set as the focal point and one main, backlit, display fixture wall—custom-designed by the architects to feature vividly colored merchandise as artwork—attract customers and facilitate circulation. “If merchandise is too cluttered, it looks cheap. By arranging it strategically, it becomes art—touchable art,” Sheppard says. For example, cards that typically are displayed in a spinning fixture instead are stretched out on a wall like a mosaic. “The key was making the fewest moves to create the biggest statement,” he adds.

There are few vertical walls in this space that actually meet the floor at a 90-degree angle. “Walls skew to each other,” Sheppard explains. “It looks interesting, but how do you put a shelf on a wall that’s crooked?” Roth + Sheppard captured architectural impact by using the sloping walls to their advantage, figuring out that walls sloping away make ideal bookshelves, as in the back reading area. The architects uncovered the only two right angle walls in the space, and they arranged about 90 percent of the merchandise on these two walls. One slanted wall that was very critical to the lobby and to Libeskind’s design was left untouched; they decided to put no merchandise on this wall to let it stand alone as its own statement piece. Roth + Sheppard’s celebration of these angular walls, reinterpreting Libeskind’s “design parti” or dancing lines concept, firmly enroots the shop within the original museum design. “The ‘dancing lines’ concept led to the design of the museum, and this same idea is executed on a smaller scale in the shop,” Sheppard says. “The path and circulation flow relate back to Libeskind’s original idea of the interaction between people and art.”

McKay agrees, “The museum shop’s angular fixtures reflect the Libeskind design.” He adds,“The newly designed spaces have helped my retail team and me to better continue our ongoing strategy to connect the patrons’ visits to our collections and exhibitions, enhancing their experience at the museum, and (hopefully) taking items home that will recall memories of the great things they saw and learned at the DAM.”

Perhaps the greatest testament to Roth + Sheppard’s success in creating this museum shop was in the reaction of Daniel Libeskind and his wife, Nina, who were thrilled when they first saw it and told the architecture firm: “Much appreciation for the beautiful store you designed for the Denver Art Museum. We were extremely impressed with how your sensitivity to the unique nature of the building resulted in a truly integrated design that not only meets the needs of the client, but also takes this spectacular interior space to a completely new level.”

who
Project: Denver Art Museum - Museum Shop. Owner: Denver Art Museum. Architect: Roth + Sheppard Architects, Jeff Sheppard, AIA, design principal; Tim Politis, AIA, LEED AP, project manager; Christopher Keast, designer, Adam Harding, LEED AP, designer, Tamara Nappholz, designer. Contractor: NCI Norkoli Construction Inc. Consultants: Andoniadis Retail Services, High Country Millwork. Lighting: Urban Fabrications, Litelab. Engineering: Studio NYL Structural Engineers Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Dynalectric, US Engineering, BCER Engineering, Western States Fire Protection. Photographer: Paul Brokering.

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: US Surface Warehouse, Pionite. Flooring: Johnsonite, Ryan and Co. Flooring Solutions. Ceiling: Litelab. Lighting: Litelab, Urban Fabrications, Daewoo LED panels. Glass: Grand View Glass, Manko, C.R. Laurence. Upholstery: High Country Millwork. Shelving: Visplay, Custom displays by High Country Millwork. Architectural woodworking: High Country Millwork. Signage: Freeman Signs. Plumbing fixtures: Advance Tabco.

where
Location: Denver, CO. Total floor area: 4,936 sq. ft. No. of floors: 1. Total staff size: 10 full and part-time staff; 60 volunteers.




Stock Art: Roth + Sheppard designs the Denver Art Museum Shop to marry with the museum’s iconic architecture

16 August, 2010


Paul Brokering

“It takes a bit of maturity for an architect to do something within another architect’s building and to recognize that it’s important to be respectful of the original architecture,” admits Jeffrey Sheppard, principal at Roth + Sheppard, the Denver-based firm tasked with creating a shop for the Denver Art Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind. The key was to design something that complements but does not compete with the existing museum’s iconic architecture, and the design team wanted the shop to look like it belongs within this museum rather then being an intrusion on it.

“The goal of the project was to provide a retail component that stayed true to the Libeskind design while offering functional and flexible fixturing that presents the product well,” says Denver Art Museum Shop manager Greg McKay. Sheppard explains that pragmatic goals included increasing the shop’s visibility and identity, visitor traffic, and sales. The former museum shop was poorly located, and after conducting a location analysis, Roth + Sheppard convinced the Board that moving the store to a void space in the lobby would be most beneficial. While many museum shops are designed to catch people on their way out, this one is located to the right of the entry but to the left of the exit, so that people feel invited in to mill around, sit down, and relax in the café area. Also, setting the shop in this spot positions it as a pathway to the future Clifford Still Museum that is being constructed across a courtyard beyond the Denver Art Museum.

“The lobby was designed as a continuous, flexible, open space, and we didn’t want to ruin that,” says Sheppard. An emotional or aesthetic objective was to create a store that would fit in with the dynamic architecture and leave a lasting impression on visitors. The creation of what is known as the “invisible threshold” helped achieve all project goals. Large panes of glass that subtly distinguish the retail component from the rest of the lobby, with no doors delineating the museum shop, this invisible threshold offers a noninvasive transition zone.

After crossing through this invisible threshold, visitors are drawn deeper into the space, thanks to Roth + Sheppard’s crafty design and merchandising scheme. “Visitors then make the connection between displaying merchandise and art,” Sheppard explains. “Merchandise is different than art in that you see it, touch it, and buy it.” A series of illuminated columns—one authentic column needed for the building’s structural support and the others designed by the architects to replicate the real thing—display smaller items for sale in a flexible, modular fixture. A massive jewelry counter set as the focal point and one main, backlit, display fixture wall—custom-designed by the architects to feature vividly colored merchandise as artwork—attract customers and facilitate circulation. “If merchandise is too cluttered, it looks cheap. By arranging it strategically, it becomes art—touchable art,” Sheppard says. For example, cards that typically are displayed in a spinning fixture instead are stretched out on a wall like a mosaic. “The key was making the fewest moves to create the biggest statement,” he adds.

There are few vertical walls in this space that actually meet the floor at a 90-degree angle. “Walls skew to each other,” Sheppard explains. “It looks interesting, but how do you put a shelf on a wall that’s crooked?” Roth + Sheppard captured architectural impact by using the sloping walls to their advantage, figuring out that walls sloping away make ideal bookshelves, as in the back reading area. The architects uncovered the only two right angle walls in the space, and they arranged about 90 percent of the merchandise on these two walls. One slanted wall that was very critical to the lobby and to Libeskind’s design was left untouched; they decided to put no merchandise on this wall to let it stand alone as its own statement piece. Roth + Sheppard’s celebration of these angular walls, reinterpreting Libeskind’s “design parti” or dancing lines concept, firmly enroots the shop within the original museum design. “The ‘dancing lines’ concept led to the design of the museum, and this same idea is executed on a smaller scale in the shop,” Sheppard says. “The path and circulation flow relate back to Libeskind’s original idea of the interaction between people and art.”

McKay agrees, “The museum shop’s angular fixtures reflect the Libeskind design.” He adds,“The newly designed spaces have helped my retail team and me to better continue our ongoing strategy to connect the patrons’ visits to our collections and exhibitions, enhancing their experience at the museum, and (hopefully) taking items home that will recall memories of the great things they saw and learned at the DAM.”

Perhaps the greatest testament to Roth + Sheppard’s success in creating this museum shop was in the reaction of Daniel Libeskind and his wife, Nina, who were thrilled when they first saw it and told the architecture firm: “Much appreciation for the beautiful store you designed for the Denver Art Museum. We were extremely impressed with how your sensitivity to the unique nature of the building resulted in a truly integrated design that not only meets the needs of the client, but also takes this spectacular interior space to a completely new level.”

who
Project: Denver Art Museum - Museum Shop. Owner: Denver Art Museum. Architect: Roth + Sheppard Architects, Jeff Sheppard, AIA, design principal; Tim Politis, AIA, LEED AP, project manager; Christopher Keast, designer, Adam Harding, LEED AP, designer, Tamara Nappholz, designer. Contractor: NCI Norkoli Construction Inc. Consultants: Andoniadis Retail Services, High Country Millwork. Lighting: Urban Fabrications, Litelab. Engineering: Studio NYL Structural Engineers Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers, Dynalectric, US Engineering, BCER Engineering, Western States Fire Protection. Photographer: Paul Brokering.

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: US Surface Warehouse, Pionite. Flooring: Johnsonite, Ryan and Co. Flooring Solutions. Ceiling: Litelab. Lighting: Litelab, Urban Fabrications, Daewoo LED panels. Glass: Grand View Glass, Manko, C.R. Laurence. Upholstery: High Country Millwork. Shelving: Visplay, Custom displays by High Country Millwork. Architectural woodworking: High Country Millwork. Signage: Freeman Signs. Plumbing fixtures: Advance Tabco.

where
Location: Denver, CO. Total floor area: 4,936 sq. ft. No. of floors: 1. Total staff size: 10 full and part-time staff; 60 volunteers.

 


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