Studio as Art Gallery

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Architects' offices are usually interesting spaces in themselves. But many designers I know make their workspaces even more appealing by showcasing art from local (or not-so-local) artists. These ever-changing exhibitions provide the artists with exposure, and can be fun and intellectually stimulating for the architects who put them together.

Last year I wrote about a Santa Monica, Calif., firm, Minarc, that hosts a gallery of international art within its offices. The firm's owners are from Iceland, and also opened an online store featuring goods from Icelandic artisans as a way to help those feeling the pain of that country's ongoing financial crisis. "With all the changes happening in the world, this is part of our change: to be a multifunctional space," one of the principals, Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir, told me.

The other day I spoke with Nicole Migeon, AIA, a New Yorker who spent several years working in the art auction business before becoming an architect. She often hosts exhibitions and openings in her East Village studio. "I know how hard it is to get your work out there," she says. "I think of architects as being artists, in a way. When I opened my storefront, I wanted to help promote other artists." Migeon usually tries to showcase local artists who are established but may not have gallery representation yet. "As architects, we need to be part of the community," she says. "We're changing it, so we also should be in touch with it."

San Francisco-based Mark Horton, FAIA, devotes a room adjacent to his firm's office space to 3A Gallery, which hosts architecture-related exhibits. (The gallery doubles as a conference room for the firm.) Its most recent show, Fog Bank, was designed and fabricated by architecture students at Cal Poly.--m.d.



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