The Brooklyn-based design firm SITU Studio has been selected by the Brooklyn Museum to create a new environment in the entry Pavilion and Lobby to transform the Museum’s entry. Taking a cue from retail and the hospitality sector, the new SITU-designed entry experience will focus on an assemblage of reconfigurable modular furniture designed to connect staff with visitors, while improving traffic and way-finding.
The transformation of the Lobby and Pavilion are a part of Bloomberg Connects, a global initiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies that provides funding for the development of technology to increase access to cultural institutions and enrich visitor experiences. Through this program, the Brooklyn Museum is expected to develop ASK, a mobile app that will be beta tested with visitors in March and launch in June.
ASK seeks to improve the visitor experience by providing a platform for visitors to ask staff questions that will be answered in real time during their visit. Location-based technology is being implemented throughout the Museum so that staff can see what works of art visitors are near.
The SITU design will establish a completely new visitor entrance sequence and experience and feature a mobile group of interactive hubs, ticketing booths, signage, and information displays. Moving into the galleries, there will be wall-mounted question-and-answer stations. This approach will provide an opportunity for the Museum to test different solutions by examining the interactive potential of these modular components and adjusting and reconfiguring them as necessary.
When the program launches in June, an audience engagement team will be based in a specially designed hub in the lobby area to respond to visitor questions, both on the mobile app and in person. Pre-visit information about exhibitions, hours, and directions will be available on the app at any time, but the interactive component is available only when geo-location indicates that a visitor is in the Museum.
In 2011, SITU Studio created a site-specific architectural installation, ReOrder, that inaugurated the first phase of the Brooklyn Museum’s project for the 10,000-square-foot colonnaded hall on the first floor. The installation re-imagined the classically ordered space to serve as a hub-a place for visitors to congregate, relax, view temporary exhibitions, and see an occasional performance-through the creation of a series of stretched fabric canopies and integrated furnishings that expanded and augmented the profile of the columns, transforming them from base to capital. It was the recipient of the 2011 Interior Design Best of Year Award for large exhibition installation.
Beginning with support for audio guides in 1999, Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped cultural institutions stay current with the latest trends in technology and revolutionize the visitor experience. In addition, the foundation has provided funding for technology at institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Art Institute of Chicago, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Jewish Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, Tate Modern, Metropolitan Opera, New York Botanical Garden, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Photo provided: The present Brooklyn Museum Lobby (photo by Cat Guzman).