The Brooklyn Museum is a leading museum in the United States with a permanent collection of over one and a half million works and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each year. Opened in 1897, the Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Its roots extend back to 1823 and the founding of the Brooklyn Apprentices' Library to educate young tradesmen (Walt Whitman would later become one of its librarians).
The entrance hall today has undergone major expansion in the last decade with the addition of a glass building of 1,500 square feet (457 square meters). A year ago, the museum management decided to move the shop to this space, now a must see for all visitors.
USM furniture has been successfully used around the world in museums for many years, making it a natural choice for architects and designers to specify in public spaces. The USM Haller furniture is architecturally integrated into the vast entrance of the building, and a large yellow piece of furniture catches the eye of the visitors to the museum.
We met with Chad Phillips, the director of the museum store, to discuss this project.
The idea was to move the store to the front of the museum, in the glass pavilion, to create a more welcoming space that all visitors can access, including those without tickets. We wanted to create an independent and robust structure that is quick to install and does not require any construction work.
It was also important not to change the character of the building while preserving the transparency offered by the existing architecture.
I have known of USM for many years and used the furniture in another store. It was basically to create a room in an open space and for me, USM was the perfect way to create freestanding walls in a space with an extremely high ceiling.
I also knew of its robustness and durability, which are all the more important in the highly stressed environment of a shop. The bonus is the modularity of the system and the ease of replacing the elements which are widely used.
The icing on the cake was to realise after installation, that the shape and white colour of the USM furniture creates a perfect match with the structure of the ceiling of this space!