In order to address the small lobby space of the existing Anton Arts Center museum in Mt. Clemens, Michigan as well as address the extremely tight budget, the focus of this proposal was on the development of a simple yet creative, inexpensive yet sophisticated solution for the museum Gift Shop. Our proposal consists of two ‘L’ shaped partitions made of layers of ¾”, stained, medium density fiberboard (MDF). Large perforations are cut from the flat sheets using a CNC router and ‘off-the-shelf’ aluminum mesh storage units are sandwiched within the MDF layers. The mesh storage containers satisfy three functions. First, they allow light to enter and reach all areas of the gift shop and museum lobby. Second, they invite views into the gift shop from the building’s entrance and the museum gallery. Third, they serve as display shelves for items that can be purchased in the store. The containers are adequate for a variety of storage needs including jewelry, display objects, posters, t-shirts, books and much more. The protrusion of the ready-made containers activates the spaces both inside and outside of the gift shop. Due to the nature of the metal mesh containers, the entire space of the lobby is visually transformed as one moves around and through the space.
Both the wall panels and furniture components of the shop can be fabricated off-site, allowing for greater quality control and consistency of the elements. The ability to ship the components to the site and install them as large modules reduces construction costs to an absolute minimum and ensures that the space can be completed within the time sensitive construction schedule.
The custom nature of the fabrication of the MDF panels becomes the first step in providing a malleable, adaptable space for the museum gift shop. The movable furniture pieces – consisting of the check-out desk and wrapping station as well as a portable bench/storage unit (custom fabricated from the waste created by the removal of the rectilinear MDF cut outs) – float in the middle of the gift shop and can be moved and re-configured to suit any number of functions and events.