Ellipse Foundation

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. A non-descript warehouse in the outskirts of Lisbon is turned into a container and exhibition site of contemporary art. For this, an elementary strategy is devised: the several scales, dimensions and characteristics of the exhibition rooms must have diverse conditions and thus be adapted to the several modes of presentation that characterize the most recent artistic production.

The succession of these situations creates a narrative path. A black multifunctional hall converges into a compressed passage. One leaves the peripheral industrial landscape behind transparent rubber bands. On the left, there are offices and welcome facilities. Above us, an angled glass façade hides a hanging room behind dark glass. The VIP and meeting room is a futuristic lounge which, as a panoptical device, dominates visually both over the hall and the exhibition space. Saarinen and Newson furniture, chocolate brown walls, a soft beige carpet and round ceiling light sources provide the specific wallpaper* atmosphere for the voyeur collector or curator.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… The first space of the actual gallery is a great hall which, simultaneously, allows for the exhibition of exceptionally big installations and offers a distribution node for the remaining exhibition circuit. Transition spaces are somehow marked as architectural territory against the neutral, technical, climatically kept white exhibition rooms.

Orange bands indicate a psychological barrier and an inverted symmetry in the functional distribution of two second floor rooms; overall painting of walls and flooring in grey signal an extension of the originally intended space to adjacent warehouses; a dark red column and beam hint at the existing remodeled space; all of these establish a chromatic range that counteracts the modernistic hegemony of the white exhibition space. Ultimately, though, artists also invaded these interstitial moments as alternative exhibition space.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. On the other hand, the notion of chromatic range achieves its most extreme expression in the opposition of black and white. Not only the external volume and the entrance are, therefore, perfect negatives of the exhibition space, but also the VIP room and the black projection room opposite the entrance have their counterpart on an installation space in which the intensity of white has been taken to its limit. A translucent ceiling, white walls and white rubber floor create an effect of ‘white light, white heat’ which takes the gallery condition to a cinematic height. The dominating architectural theme is confirmed as the black box / white cube opposition.

Images: Paulo Seabra. See more at Arkinetia, I Like DesignArtecapital, etc.

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