ART-chitecture on display at new virtual gallery 🎨
Through Another Lens: Exploring an Immersive, Virtual Art Gallery
Oppenheim Architecture Presents The Next Level of Online Viewing Rooms
Setting a new standard for the virtual art experience, award-winning international firm Oppenheim Architecture has designed a digital gallery space for the debut exhibition of Minoru Onoda: Through another Lens, directed by Anne Mosseri-Marlio. In collaboration with architectural visualization agency The Boundary, the architecture group was challenged to develop an immersive, simulated space that could meet the demands of an expanding online art market. With a naturalistic abundance of space and lighting, the intimate online viewing experience allows spectators to see the three-dimensionality and details of each work, yielding comfort and conversation among art and architecture.
“We viewed this project as an opportunity to authentically share amazing art and architecture, while bridging the gap between simulated reality and our physical existence,” stated Oppenheim Architecture Director of European Operations, Beat Huesler. “In this process, we worked to avoid conventional stumbling blocks by having it online—creating a digital space helped to amplify the dedication to the artist, and the appreciation of the discipline and those that engage with it.”
While most online viewing rooms (OVRs) depict two-dimensional art, the Anne Mosseri-Marlio Virtual Gallery incorporates heightened realism through the engagement of and design by an architecture firm—a prospect unheard of in the gallery world. The Oppenheim team used their rich background in the brick-and-mortar world to create a lifelike viewing experience that truly transports the visitor. Going beyond the standard features of an online gallery, the firm developed the space with meticulous attention to detail and realism—from the floor to the ceiling, the windows to the walls, and the size to scale. The gallery bears an essence of freedom unlike any other, in resemblance to a physical space.
Upon arrival, visitors make a grand entrance through the gallery’s main door and descend into the stony corridor. Through the use of a keyboard, touch screen, or computer mouse, guests are able to freely wander and explore the space—viewing works of art and the notable attention to detail from different distances and angles with the simple click of a mouse. Each feature has been carefully thought of— from the “natural” lighting, to the inclusion of handicap access, an office, and even a restroom to mimic a true-to-life visiting experience.
“As we progress through the pandemic and the uncertainties that it brings, the ability to view art and architecture, and understand its meaning should be a welcoming, accessible experience for enthusiasts and observers,” stated gallery director Anne Mosseri-Marlio. “Through the virtual gallery, all visitors have the ability to ‘walk in the door’ and enjoy the works being presented. We aim to replace intimidation with a welcoming experience when looking and discovering art and artists.”
The digital gallery consists of two parts: the main gallery, and “The Space”. Rising in scale and altitude, the main gallery is home to seasonal shows. A range of spaces is provided for art within the focal area, from open niches along the central hall to deep alcoves with dramatic height and lighting. Developed by Oppenheim Architecture, “The Space” hosts a unique set of art from the current exhibition in a special pop-up area. The additional setting will change with each new exhibition.
Oppenheim Architecture first worked with Anne Mosseri-Marlio in 2013, planting the seed for a collaboration that resulted in the design of the physical gallery in Basel, Switzerland. This new gallery reflects a close understanding of the quality required for its artists, with work varying in scale and medium.
The online viewing room was designed by Oppenheim Architecture, with virtual reality effects by The Boundary. The gallery opened April 21 and shows the solo exhibition Minoru Onoda: Through another Lens— displaying paintings from 1960 to 2003, as well as a group of works on paper from 1973—until June 21, 2021. Visit the gallery at annemoma.gallery.
Gallery director: Anne Mosseri-Marlio
Virtual space designer: Oppenheim Architecture
Virtual reality effects designer: The Boundary
About Oppenheim Architecture
Oppenheim Architecture is a global design practice engaging with diverse clients, cultures, and environments across five continents.
Established in 1999 by Chad Oppenheim, the practice has studios in Miami and Basel with an inquisitive team of forty architects, interior designers, planners, dreamers, and technicians. Our Basel office is led by Swiss architect Beat Huesler, Chad’s long-time friend and associate from Cornell University. The two studios operate as one, guided by poetically contextual design, hyper-functionality, and building craft.
As architectural archeologists, our work is highly attuned to its site. We go beyond the bounds of conventional architectural production—studying people and cultures, technologies and materials, psychologies and experiences—to create buildings and spaces that connect people with the spirit of place.
As value creators and problem-solvers, we aim to challenge and inspire so that each site and project fulfills and exceeds its potential. Every brief holds hidden value, and our focus is to realize these greater cultural, experiential, and economic possibilities—to make one plus one equal eleven. By seeing architecture as part of a wider ecosystem, we amplify benefits not only for our clients and users, but also for the surrounding community and environment.
Oppenheim Architecture has received over 90 awards, including more than 60 from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Awards, as well as a National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.