The new Annenberg Foundation Space for Photography is the first space of its kind presenting digital and print photography in a dynamic, unified venue. The design of the Space is based on celebrating and supporting the medium of photography, and the interior architecture is conceived of as a participant in the multi-sensory experience of the exhibitions.
Philosophically, the design is based on the Greek origins of the word "photograph," which translate to "drawing with light." Thus, the organization of the space and materials are defined by a series of continuous light coves, the essential palette of print photography, and a combination of hard and soft textures. The architectural forms are metaphors for the traditional language of photography: chiaroscuro, aperture, shutter, lens, film strip, etc.
Upon entering the Space, a white blank wall behind the check in desk is a representation of white paper or a movie screen before they reveal the artist's imagination. A curved soffit above evokes the shape of a camera's film advancer and encourages the visitor to move forward to the core digital exhibition gallery. As one winds through to the core digital exhibition area, one travels along a curved wall featuring a series of small print photographs, symbolic of the tight spacing and repetition of a film strip. The center of the gallery, formed by solid walls and negative space, contains large display screens approximately 12' x 8' which provide a dynamic, large scale digital show in contrast to the preceding display of smaller print photographs. Overall the feeling of the concentric space with its shutter-like ceiling and vivid displays is reminiscent of being in the lens of a camera, seeing through the super-focused eye of a photographer.
The digital exhibition area features perforated "pixilated" metal panels which help resolve acoustical challenges created by the concentric shape of the space. Movable display modules have been designed to expand possibilities for transforming the digital exhibition area depending on the needs of various exhibitions. These modules accommodate both digital and print photography. The flooring in this area is made from recycled tires-selected for both comfort and as an acoustical buffer.
Aside from the gallery, the Space for Photography features an interactive area with flat, touch screen technology where visitors can interact with exhibition materials, connect with the web, upload their photographs, and relate on a personal level with the Space and its intent. In addition, the Space contains an office area for administrative needs and provides workshop, support and conferencing areas -designed to provide a comfortable, more casual environment for brainstorming, lectures and dialog. Another important aspect of the Space for Photography is the ability to form a single space for large gatherings or lectures by sliding open the dividing wall between the center gallery and workshop area-further establishing the Space as a fully immersive and interactive experience.