Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Architect
OMA
Location
New York, United States | View Map
Project Year
2016
Category
Exhibitions
Stories By
OMA

Newmat USA Ltd.
Albert Vecerka © OMA

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

OMA as Architects

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2016 exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, on view from May 5 through August 14, explores how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. Manus x Machina features over 170 garments, diverse in their designers, techniques and details.


The exhibition is presented in the Robert Lehman Wing, a double-height, octagonal addition on the museum’s central axis constructed in 1975. In order to preserve access to the permanent galleries, the exhibition space is located in the Lehman Wing’s central atrium and corridors. The space posed a number of unique environmental challenges for The Costume Institute’s show: excessive daylighting unconducive to textile exhibition, split levels, a corridor condition lacking dedicated display walls and an eclectic material palette.


A white, translucent volume was inserted into the existing brick and stone corridors of the Lehman Wing, softening its hard geometries. Echoing the sectional relationship of a central clerestory and perimeter naves, the resulting ghost cathedral resonates with the classical language of the adjacent Medieval Art gallery. A raised platform built across the double height atrium provides continuous circulation and a 2,300 square foot central gallery– an unprecedented intervention in the Lehman Wing. Upon arrival, this domed clerestory orients visitor’s with a 2014 Chanel wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld that embodies the exhibition’s theme. Details of the 20-foot train’s baroque pattern are projected on the dome’s black out scrim, recalling the Sistine Chapel. Four chapel-style pochés provide an area to focus on case studies.


Exhibition designer Shohei Shigematsu commented, “The diverse range of garments required a neutral, integrated environment to focus on the pairings of manual and mechanical processes. An armature of scaffolding wrapped with a translucent fabric introduces a unique temporality within a historic institution.


” As a high-performance theatrical scrim, the perforated membrane material of the ghost cathedral offers the tensile flexibility required for the dome geometries as well as varying degrees of transparency. When lit from the front, the scrim appears opaque enough to function as a projection backdrop for garment details. Lit from behind, the scrim appears transparent, exposing a sense of the Lehman Wing’s existing material palette and language. The unexpected spatial depth of the scrim allows for visual connections to the wedding dress from all quadrants of the Lehman Wing, while also revealing silhouettes of the temporary scaffolding framework housed within. In the lower level, scrim enfilades provide a permeable divider for each technique. As an integrated system for lighting, signage and projection, the scrim seamlessly serves multiple curation needs that would otherwise rely on overpowering media screens.

Manus X Machina Exhibit At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Newmat USA Ltd. as Membrane

OMA New York lead architect Shohei Shigematsu used 30,000 square feet of custom perforated membrane material from NEWMAT to achieve his ‘translucent ghost cathedral’ design for the Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Able to created unexpected spatial depth, the membrane offers the tensile flexibility required to achieve dome geometries as well as varying degrees of transparency. When lit from the front, the membrane appears opaque enough to function as a projection backdrop for garment details. When lit from behind, it appears transparent and ethereal.


More from the Manufacturer:


For this Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, lead architect Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York chose NEWMAT to supply and install the 30,000 square feet of scrim to achieve his “translucent ghost cathedral” design.


OMA New York transformed the Lehman Wing’s central atrium and corridors into a white translucent volume inserted into the existing brick and stone corridors of the Lehman Wing, softening its hard geometries.


The armature of scaffolding used to build the space and wrap it with the NEWMAT membranes introduces a unique temporality within this historic institution. The classical architectural shapes were designed to harmonize with the museum’s existing architecture, while the NEWMAT membranes provide a neutral space that allows visitors to appreciate the details of the intricate garments.


The entrance to the exhibit is a domed clerestory, which leads the visitors towards a 2014 Chanel wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld that embodies the exhibition’s theme. The details of the 20-foot train’s baroque pattern are projected onto the dome’s black-out NEWMAT membrane, a visual effect that calls to mind the Sistine Chapel.


The custom perforated membrane of the ghost cathedral offers the tensile flexibility required for the dome geometries as well as varying degrees of transparency. When lit from the front, the membrane appears opaque enough to function as a projection backdrop for garment details. Lit from behind, it appears transparent, exposing a sense of the Lehman Wing’s existing material palette and language. The unexpected spatial depth of the membrane allows a visual connection to the wedding dress from all quadrants of the Lehman Wing, while also revealing silhouettes of the temporary scaffolding framework housed within.

Project Credits
OMA
Architects
Engineers
Consultants
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrand
MasonryCW Keller
MembraneNewmat USA Ltd.
ScaffoldingUBS Zurich
Product Spec Sheet
Masonry
Membrane
Scaffolding
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