The iconic Gordon Bunshaft-designed Hirshhorn Museum is going to get a brand new look next year with a Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato bar opening in the lobby’s east end. According to a press release, the museum has commissioned Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto through his Tokyo-based architectural firm New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL) to redesign the lobby in order to transform the overall museum experience.
The redesigned lobby is expected to maintain the integrity and scale of the original architecture, but reconfigure the entrance as well as add Sugimoto-designed furnishings, welcome desks, and digital signage. The furnishings will be inspired by the circular shape of the building as well as the roots of a medieval Japanese nutmeg tree.
There will also be a new prismatic light sculpture installation, called, “Your oceanic feeling,” designed by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in 2015.
The lobby’s existing terrazzo floor, coffered ceiling, and exposed aggregate walls will be retained.
Both the coffee bar and the redesigned lobby are set to open February 2018.
"Hiroshi Sugimoto is an internationally accomplished artist able to move seamlessly between art and design," said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu in a statement. "In our case, his unique aesthetic brings a renewed sense of sophistication and elegance to the lobby while at the same honoring Gordon Bunshaft's original intentions. In 2006, the Hirshhorn was the first institution to present a career survey of Sugimoto's work, and it is an honor for us to incorporate his work into the museum in a permanent way for visitors to enjoy for years to come."