OMA completes renovation of Sotheby’s New York galleries

Chunky columns covered in aggregate puncture through galleries in Sotheby’s New York headquarters, which has just re-opened to the public following a major overhaul designed by OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu.

Shigematsu led OMA’s New York outpost on the update of the international auction house‘s headquarters. Unveiled earlier this year, the scheme focused on  “surgically restacking and consolidating” four floors in the Manhattan headquarters to increase exhibition space and public programming.

Sotheby's New York by OMAN

The headquarters – which opened to the public on 3 May following a brief closure –  now features over 20,000 square foot (1858 square metres) of extra exhibition spaces and 40 public galleries in varying shapes and sizes.

“A dynamic repertoire of spatial conditions for display – from white cube, double height, enfilade, corridor, cascade, octagonal and L-shaped – can be used individually or as clusters, to accommodate various programming as well as the display of Sotheby’s diverse portfolio,” said OMA in a statement.

Sotheby's New York by OMAN

Among the new spaces is the Enfilade Galleries, which comprises four galleries of exactly the same size set side-by-side; a series of “domestically scaled” areas for furniture, design and collections; and a 150-foot-long (46-metre) Grand Gallery for showcasing a full collection.

The firm’s main intervention, however, was the creation of a double-height space on the ground floor for exhibiting large sculptural works. A window punctures one of the upper walls so that pieces can also be viewed from the exhibition space on the first floor.

Sotheby's New York by OMAN

This space also features a large opening to the street – one of a number that Shigematsu introduced to create a better relationship between the exhibition areas and the public.Related storyOMA adds iridescent glass escalator to New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue

White-painted walls and a mix of flooring, including dark wood and exposed concrete, offer a simple aesthetic and plain backdrop to provide a suitable backdrop for works.

Sotheby's New York by OMAN

The pared-back decor also complements a number of existing details preserved during the project, such as ceiling structures and the thick existing columns.  A number of these were stripped back to reveal the aggregate below, while others were reinforced with extra aggregate.

Sotheby's New York by OMAN

“The history of the building at York Avenue is not ignored,” said OMA.

“Existing concrete columns are exposed, stripped, and hand stippled to reveal their material character, and steel beams in open ceiling galleries are left exposed, acknowledging the building’s industrial past,” it added.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *