Diller Scofidio + Renfro were announced today as designers of the gallery and visitor experience for the reopening of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. New York exhibition specialists Local Projects will act as participatory media designer and develop engaging ways to access digital content at the museum and remotely. The museum campus is scheduled to reopen in 2014.
Cooper-Hewitt’s main facility, housed in the Carnegie Mansion, is undergoing renovation as part of a $64 million capital campaign that includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for exhibitions, collections display, education programming and the National Design Library, and an increased endowment. The expansion is a collaboration between design architect Gluckman Mayner Architects and executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle. The project also involves a program of historic preservation, working within preservation parameters established by Beyer Blinder Belle, and will aim for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
“It is because of their keen abilities to translate ideas and concepts into boundary-stretching design that Cooper-Hewitt selected DS+R and Local Projects as the ideal partners to help re-envision the design of its gallery, visitor and participatory digital experiences,” said Bill Moggridge, director of the museum.
“This project gives Cooper-Hewitt the opportunity to reinvent itself, to rethink museum conventions and the entire museum ‘visit,’” said Caroline Baumann, associate director of the museum. “We’re delighted to be working with DS+R and Local Projects in creating a distinctly contemporary vision that will serve as a model for a new type of museum.”
DS+R will work with museum staff on the conceptualization, transformation and creation of immersive museum spaces and memorable visitor experiences. The various exhibition installations designed by DS+R will make design stories come alive with multiple interactive components focusing on the design process.
“It’s an exciting challenge to consider the display of Cooper-Hewitt’s extensive historic and contemporary design collection vis-à-vis 21st-century technology, new models of social interaction and the historic context of the Carnegie mansion,” said Ricardo Scofidio, partner of DS+R.
Local Projects will design innovative media and storytelling approaches to content delivery and ongoing visitor engagement, as well as novel ways of exploring the museum’s rich collections and designer resources. In order to enrich the visitor’s experience, pioneering digital strategies are being developed to enliven and transform the museum visit from passive to participatory.
“Cooper-Hewitt will elevate our understanding of design and deepen the power of design through engagement,” said Jake Barton, principal of Local Projects. “Visitors will investigate the collection, share innovations with each other and create design ideas.”