Institute of Contemporary Art: ICA SF

The ICA SF is a “contemporary art museum dedicated to experimenting in public, operating transparently, and embracing constant reinvention in the realm of contemporary art”. Temporarily located in a warehouse, our design work supports the process oriented nature of evolving and changing shows, ideas, and testing guided by the idea of always operating “under construction”.

  • Type Art Museum
  • Location San Francisco
  • Status In progress
  • Date Current

In the spirit of questioning the nature of a museum, we were also constantly asking ourselves, what do we really need to be a museum? Operating under time, budget, and physical constraints, we designed with a minimal and light-handed approach. Gypboard walls were placed only where needed, leaving the wonderful industrial character of the warehouse intact. A combination of simple LED tubes and clamp lights illuminate the space which allow flexibility as needed.

We worked to create a sense of welcome and informality. Our office designed custom furniture from a palette of construction plywood, lumber and industrial felt, that invites touching and usage. Everything can easily be re-arranged, moved, and repaired, within the space depending on the activity or future needs.

Additional art and gallery space is visible from the entry, extending a visual invitation to explore.

A detail of the reception desk showing the raked sawtooth display for postcards, show literature and small merchandise.

Custom seating by Min Design. Constructed of construction plywood and industrial felt, these stools can be easily moved and arranged.

Portal view separating main gallery spaces, off-the-shelf adjustable clamp lights provide a surprisingly functional system for intimate spaces.

Photo by the ICA SF

Photography By Bruce Damonte
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