The Beaubourg in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, designed by Stephan Braunfels, are the three major European sites for the display and exploration of the visual arts of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Pinakothek gallery of design, with its 45,000 objects, is one of the largest, most comprehensive, applied-arts collections in the world. The centerpiece of the gallery is a huge illuminated display case, almost 30 meters long and seemingly suspended in mid-air (the director, Florian Hufnagl, has christened this case sarcophagus of Snow White, to highlight the pure beauty of the glass).
Building design: Stephan Braunfels, Munich
Exhibition design: Florian Hufnagl, Collection director, Munich
Goppion had to design and construct two long display cases, measuring 26 m and 33 m in length respectively, made entirely of glass, with base, sides and top daringly suspended using a system of steel cables. This was an engineering challenge that no other firm was prepared to take on. Goppion was able to deal with the extremely high demands of a museum dedicated to Design and fulfilled, at the same time, the preservation requisites of the objects as instructed by the Restoration Department.
It took over two years to design, prototype, test, and produce the transparent gallery, of which only two months were devoted to production and assembly. The gallery is both a container for the perfect preventive conservation of objects and an extraordinary object in its own right: an important technological and aesthetic contribution to the new museum. The two display cases are long horizontal prisms made entirely of glass, suspended by a system of steel cables alternating with engineered steel support structures suspended from the ceiling. Minimized steel uprights conceal a vertical lifting system that opens the front glasses of the display cases. Each moveable section is nearly three meters long and opens using a system of cables and gears powered by individual electric motors.
The shelves are also made entirely of glass and suspended by metal cables. Thus the artwork seems to float in space, offering the viewer unparalleled visual access to this incredible collection.
Exhibition area: 1,000 m2; exhibition units: 2; length of the exhibit fronts: 59 m