Kikar Hamedina (literally – the National Square), designed by architects Oscar Niemeyer, Aba Elchanani and Israel Lotan , with its residential buildings and shops at its perimeter, has become over the years one of the prominent landmarks of the city of Tel Aviv. The brutalistic residential buildings surrounding the square are made of exposed concrete and silicate blocks, the high-end retail shops and consumer culture at its sides, and the speeding traffic along the circular street rounding the largest square in the city, all served as inspiration in the process of designing the gallery.
At the front of the gallery located at the corners of He Be’Iyar and Lipski streets, lies a potential for attracting the attention of pedestrians and drivers alike.
Iconic treatment to the façade with a rhythm of exposed and unprocessed steel strips resembling a price tag barcode, creates a landmark and focal point for drivers rounding the square among the series of anemic and similar looking storefronts alongside the square. For the pedestrian, the barcode at the façade and the high display walls inside which utilize the entire height of the space provokes curiosity and offers measured opportunities to glance into the fascinating interior of the gallery.
Using rough and nontransparent material at a set rhythm over the façade creates a two-way dialogue of light and shadow towards the inside of the gallery during daylight and towards the street at night.
The internal space defined by vertical walls and tall steel strips gives the space a gothic reverence. The stairs, made of lengthwise steel strips folded and supported by tension cables, create the link between the ground level which acts as the prolog for the main exhibit space on the lower level.
Choosing to create a minimalist and clean internal space and to architecturally characterize the gallery by emphasizing the façades and their uniqueness, creates a comfortable and flexible platform in the internal space for displaying art while at the same time stressing the gallery’s branding towards the outside echoing the spirit of the artwork selection to the viewer from the square.
Photography: Amit Geron