The foyer and design store refurbishment reorganizes and re-imagines the entry to Western Australia’s preeminent arts institution, reacquainting it with the brutalist countenance of the gallery. The previous space had worn many years of piecemeal accretion.
The Design Store acts as the first Gallery space. Stunning in its subtlety, the brushed aluminum shelving unit frames objects perched on its surfaces. The hexagonal pedestals act as mechanisms for display, shaped to allow for flexible spatial arrangement.
Treated as precious objects, the desks befit the state’s art collection, imbued with clear rules for usage and presentation.
These single sheeted steel monoliths are wholly set at universally accessible height. In doing this, we have allowed both to be entirely wheelchair accessible, forcing the able-bodied elements to be moments which must rise to adjust, a flip on the paradigm of how these spaces usually work. Like pieces of art, each stone plinth is held and displayed in ways that best showcase their use and function, never allowed to touch the desk without their unique base structure.
The materiality resides within a simple palette, informed by the existing building; concrete, metal, and travertine. Staff functions were compartmentalized and then celebrated with a series of travertine objects, conceived as pieces of sculpture.
Breathing fresh life into a state icon, the entire refurbishment honors the original Architectural intent of the building. Works here must be respectful, deferential, yet carry the same strength and resonance as the original building. Straight forward, functional and enduring, the new entrance reverberates throughout the entire refurbishment, editing and resetting the public presentation of the Gallery proper.
The result is a timeless monument to greet visitors on entry, nimble, tolerant and reflective to ongoing changes such as surging visitor numbers, changing exhibitions, and out-of-season events.