Way Back Machine
12 Aug 2010 23:40
In some rooms Hollein has added moulded wall and ceiling sections...
Undoubtedly the museum is an enigma. Whilst the exterior for the building is essentially Classical hidden under a veil of pseudo-Persian and fin-de-siecle Art Nouveau motifs, the plan and much of the rich decoration could almost be Adam; but the strictly Persian glass collection is now housed in an assembly of exhibition cases designed by Hans Hollein whose wit is everywhere apparent. (Click here for a detailed account of how the museum came to be.)
In others he has introduced rather less-satisfying steel grids which including ceiling and panels lowering the room height and obscuring the original plasterwork, although these create joyous contrasts with the rooms beyond.
Hollein has approached gamely the design strictures laid down by the museum authorities. The Rococo and Art Nouveau wall and ceiling decorations had to be left untouched and as little as possible of the building altered to meet its new purpose. In rooms where the dictates of successful display and the plan of the building have clashed, Hollein has resolved the problem by inserting complete new shells into the otherwise unaltered fabric. Elsewhere Hollein's inventive and often playful free-standing display cases dominate.
A planetarium of a gallery.
Hollein's magic touch has cast a book of spells throughout the building, each room revealing some fresh solution to the common problem.
Perhaps the most successful room is the pre-Islamic gallery where glass from the Achaemenian, Parthian and Sassaniam periods is displayed in tall black cases recalling either ancient Persian columns or a parade of Ayatollahs.-- December 1980
Reprinted with permission of the Architectural Review.
A more recent collection of museum photos can be found here.
Like a scent from Kubrick's '2001' a videotape machine lands in an elaborate fin-de-siecle room.CLOSE X