Alon Segev Gallery
In his study concerning the structure of museums, Prof. Micha Levin defines the classical museum as a structure having a front façade that is formal, scowling, raised above street level and generating a sense of respect. Prof. Levin defines the ‘modern museum’ as a ‘white cube – clean, anonymous and flexible internal space capable of containing and accepting any medium desired to be displayed in it.
Alon Segev gallery located at the end of Rothschild Blvd. in Tel Aviv is a perfect combination of both definitions. The internal space is constructed as a perfectly symmetrical cube, a white cube, with its clean volume serving as a flexible space, comfortable and legible for any exhibit in any medium.
This space was achieved by clearing the inside of the structure, shortening the gallery floor and creating a symmetrical space around two constructive columns existing in the center of the room. A wide staircase made of black steel is adjacent to the central space. These stairs are made of coarse material while being both precise and smooth. Thanks to its broad span the staircase serves as an additional presentation area, while linking the central exhibit space with the gallery floor that serves as a private exhibit space and office of the gallery owner. Symmetrical peeping windows allow eye contact between the private and main exhibit spaces.
Complete segregation from the bustling street was achieved by closing all openings on the front façade, while a long raised window offers a glance at the treetops of the boulevard, creating an intimate relationship between interior and exterior. The front façade of the gallery is made of unprocessed cement board slabs, sealed and raised from street level, implying to passing pedestrians and traffic that something special is going on inside – but takes away the ability to catch a quick glance. The same raised window in the front façade, which links the interior of the structure and the boulevard treetops, breaks the symmetry of the framed façade and again implies a unique occurrence inside, especially in the evening hours when the internal lighting of the gallery is reflected and pours out. Implied hints of a unique occurrence inside, combined with the inability to catch a passing glance requires boulevard pedestrians to enter into the gallery, disengage from the outside world and delve into the exhibit.
The appearance and visibility of the gallery and the use of simple materials (such as cement board, black steel and concrete) demonstrate how educated use of available, inexpensive materials can create a respectable and unique feeling, and especially to serve as a proper and comfortable platform for exhibiting art.
Photography: Amit Geron