Welcome to the MAD House

East Coast, Other
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Everybody dance now. The lobby of the new MAD.

Everybody dance now. The lobby of the new MAD.

The Museum of Art and Design held its reception for architects and designers last Friday, and while the tchotke-lined galleries were packed with fancypants and fancy glasses, AN did not spot too many boldfaces–perhaps everyone was home warming up their popcorn for the debate. We did see Barry Bergdoll, Matilda McQuade, and Karen Stein and even asked a few people what they thought of Brad Cloepfil‘s resplendent new digs.

Everyones hanging out in the back, near the bar

Everyone's hanging out in the back, near the bar

Raj Patel, a designer at ARUP who worked on the museum, said it was good the team could get together and enjoy the space it worked so hard on. “A lot of people have spent a lot of time and worked a lot on the process of making this happen,” Patel said. “Now it’s time to celebrate.” And his favorite part of the museum? “Obviously, the building is best at day, but the light is just amazing no matter what.”

Suzanne Stephens, the deputy editor at Record, wasn’t so sure. “Everyone’s talking about the debate,” she said, “but when they aren’t, it’s the lighting strategy. It’s either got to be party lighting or museum lighting. You can’t have both.” She did agree with Patel on one point, though. “I’ll have to decide during the day.”

Like we said, everyones looking at the booze, not the art.

Like we said, everyone's looking at the booze, not the art.

Cloepfil spent most of the night holding court near the door. Asked about the economy, which, after the debate and the lighting, seemed to be on everyone’s mind, the Portland-based designer took a jab at himself. “Do we need museums that cost $1,200 per square-foot?” he asked, gesturing around the lobby. “I’m not sure we do. I don’t think there’s any wrong with that, but it’s not sustainable for now. We just have to adapt, cut back. Cut the fat. It’ll be good, cleansing.” Here’s to slimmer architecture.

Everyone checks out the fobs.

Everyone checks out the fobs.

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2 Responses to “Welcome to the MAD House”

  1. The collection is mostly great and being able to see so much of it is a pleasure. Considering all the constraints of the site and the building underneath, I think a masterful job was done by opening up the floors and moving the staircases and elevators to increase room for display of the collection which could not look better. After years of being cramped in the old home on 53rd Street, this is wonderful. To me, the exterior architecture is the least important part of the project. I love most of the art on display and to me the content is more important than the container, although that is growing on me. I’ve been there twice. And it is a terrific party space. Great views of Columbus Circle at night.

  2. PORT says:

    We just posted a long interview with Brad Cloepfil here: http://www.portlandart.net/archives/2008/10/use_and_space_a.html

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