Urban Gallery 01

Site: St. Louis, MO, United States

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Cultural

Client: Art St. Louis

The non-for-profit gallery Art St. Louis is dedicated to presenting local artists without a public presence.  They also desire to provide a digital venue for emerging artists.  To address this, we engaged the street as an urban gallery; integrating the surface of the sidewalk into the floor of the small interior gallery. The first floor space required traditional wall space and open floor plan as well as multiple screens for digital projections. Through the use of looms covered with rotating semi transparent stretched fabric projection screens, different configurations of tilted vertical surfaces were possible. These then created a layered space encouraging the user to navigate through differing window-screens.  The surface area of its public gallery, despite being a relatively small and narrow street-level gallery space, thus, is increased. The window-screens offer both digital experiences and serve as transparent thresholds. They also recall the virtual experience of opening Internet windows from multiple network addresses. To stitch together the gallery space with the upper level, the looms pass from the first floor to the second floor.  A translucent staircase also moves visitors through the space. Embedded exhibition shelves holding objects seemingly frozen within the stair interrupt this translucency. Although the gallery’s motto, “Emerging Voices,” emphasizes digital media as a new domain for artists, it also exhibits more traditional artworks.  For these objects, the screens close into cloud-like positions and illuminate the works from below their stretched surfaces.