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Bemis InfoShop

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Bemis InfoShop

Project Status


Year Completed



Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts



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Project Description

AIA 2013 Small Project Awards winner in Category 1: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000.


More than a new entry and reception area for a contemporary art center, the InfoShop is a social condenser and transition space between the city and the galleries. With increasing emphasis on social and environmental issues, the art center is becoming a laboratory for ideas rather than a repository for artifacts. In this context, the InfoShop focuses attention on the ideas and issues brought up by the gallery programs, and more importantly, by patrons. It is an open social space for spontaneous meetings, dialog and debate. The InfoShop is spare to enhance flexibility. A 24’-long reception desk can be transformed into a full bar with a plug that fills the work area. Opposite are banks of simple boxes for publications and leaflets that extend the modules of the existing brick wall. The wall behind the desk bounds the space and suggests an atmosphere of precision and complexity. We paneled the wall with custom, CNC-milled panels derived from a pinwheel aperiodic tiling pattern. The pattern is composed of right triangles with infinite variation in scale and orientation but no periodicity. Using a custom algorithm, we modified the pattern to focus on discrete centers to derive the 3-dimensional wall and desk forms.
Jury Comments: This is such a remarkable process! It represents a designer's victory as opposed to an ideologically born, experientially rich element. This project works on many exciting levels. A context is built on triangular patterns cut into a wall of panels and beautifully engages a sculpturally reception desk that double as a bar for entertaining. The reception space looks great, effortlessly orients the visitor and functions very practically. It is playful without being whimsical. This project is an exemplary demonstration of craft in the digital age. The introduction of pattern-making on surface, in concert with the spatial implications of the form of the desk and the adjacent walls, make the whole operate experimentally on timeless principles, yet so appropriately in the context of the societal and economic forces that come to bear in this specific time.
Collaboration Acknowledgement: FACT (Fabrication And Construction Team), fabrication research and construction
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