The 10,000-square-foot exhibition space opened on November 21 after a three-year, multi-phase renovation effort. It serves as a showcase for one of the largest displays of its kind in any art museum in North America—one that includes more than 400 objects, weighted in favor of those produced since 1980.
An entrance gallery orients visitors and showcases recent acquisitions or special exhibitions. The second gallery tells the story of modern design from the post-war period to 1980 through a range of objects, including chairs designed by Hans J. Wenger and Charles and Ray Eames.
But it’s the 9,000-square-foot main gallery that is most likely to wow visitors. The museum’s collection of design objects produced since 1980 is laid out in a manner that lets visitors trace the evolution of contemporary design chronologically or stylistically, depending on how they choose to navigate the space. It includes objects by well-known artists, including Ettore Sottass, Frank Gehry, and Achille Castiglioni, alongside works by up-and-coming designers like Tord Boontje and Konstantin Grcic.
The new galleries were designed by Phil Lynam and Lara Hutcheman of the museum’s Design Studio, in association with Jeff Daly, a former senior design advisor to the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.