As someone once said – as one door closes another opens. The demise of the Design Center, on the first level of the museum, provided the perfect spot to create a brief introduction to the latest addition to our collection, the only one that does not reside on our 152-acre campus: the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana.
Put simply, we wanted to design a space to entice IMA visitors to make the effort to go to Columbus and visit the Miller House. To complicate things, each of us has had the experience of seeing the house in person, and we all admitted that none of us really appreciated what the Miller House is until we saw it for ourselves.
Once we visited, all the designers agreed it would be impossible to replicate the subtle magnificence of the Miller House. But we also realized the danger of creating a space that implied we could. So the task became – how to offer visitors a “taste” without satisfying them, or worse, convincing them that they had in fact experienced a masterpiece remotely.
What we settled on is a series of large-scale photos mounted on freestanding walls. These create a maze-like, (very) rough model of the house and grounds. Walking through, one can easily pick up the general concept of the house – colors, materials, volume of space, etc. The rear of the space is peppered with reproductions of blueprints, swatches, letters, permits, and other archival materials, which represent the colossal amount of work, and coordination that went into creating this landmark. All of this is accompanied by an IMA-produced video piece, as well as information regarding directions and ticketing.
For over fifty years one of the nation’s greatest works of art has been enjoyed exclusively by those who created it, and now it is open to the public. This space (which opens on May 20th) serves to celebrate that fact, and entice everyone who sees it that a trip to Columbus is in order.