TOUR DE FORCE

The Gensler-led pre-BDwest Design Tour of The Broad contemporary art museum in LA was memorable in more ways than one.

By Matthew Hall

OK, the sheep in the glass-enclosed tank of formaldehyde was a bit unnerving.

That 1994 work by Damien Hirst, titled “Away from the Flock,” was among the 250-plus exhibits on display at The Broad, LA’s new contemporary art museum—and site of this year’s pre-BDwest Design Tour. That sold-out event started with some comments on the museum’s unique design by David Pakshong, arts & culture practice area leader/senior associate at Gensler, which teamed with Diller Scofodio + Renfro in creating the museum.

Pakshong noted that the museum’s interior features a unique “veil and vault” layout. The former term refers to the building’s torqued, lattice-like exterior skin, which is made of fiberglass-reinforced white concrete panels. The latter term, meantime, refers to art-storage areas that can be viewed through a variety of plate-glass windows scattered throughout the space. In addition, thanks to apertures in its walls and skylights in its roof, the galleries are bathed in natural light.

Overall, I found some of the works on display to be profound, and some of it perplexing (i.e., the aforementioned quadruped dipped in fluid). But in virtually all cases, the exhibits (as well as the design of the museum) were thought-provoking—which made the tour the perfect prelude to this year’s BDwest.