Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Art Gallery Design Project in New York City

Bruce Frank Primitive Art Gallery
designed by Christopher Ong
Dance Mask from Bali, Indonesia.
Early 20th Century

Bruce Frank Primitive Art Gallery offers one of the most diverse collections of fine antique and tribal art from Oceanic, Indonesian, African, Papua New Guinea, South East Asian and Philippines cultures.
Headrest from Calabar, Nigeria.
10th - 11th Century
When I first met Bruce Frank, he showed me a space he wanted to turn into an art gallery. It was a half-basement space in a brownstone townhouse in Upper West Side, the entrance is rather tight and the whole space is narrow and elongated. The 2/3 of the front has a low ceiling that is less than 8 foot, and 1/3 at the back with a ceiling rose to 10 foot. The whole space was stacked with boxes and dust, and water on the floor from leaking.
“When all the walls, partitions, floor and light fixture are removed, this space has a great potential to turn into an unique gallery.” I said.
Prestige Staff from Madagascar, Africa.
20th Century

Stone tiles are laid on the vestibule, 2 steps going down to the new wooden floor (Contract laminated floor), niches created on the right wall as display cases, a long bench on the left with various heights and sizes of pedestals for bigger pieces of tribal art. Both walls echo each other.
Wall and ceiling are in one color to blur one’s vision of the low ceiling. Not a normal white as in most gallery, but a high-level of butter-scotch color palette (from Benjamin & Moore,) nearly the same color of the wooden floor. Visitors walking into a ‘cave’, creates a mysterious ambiance. To further provoke peoples’ curiosity, the end of the room is a deep chocolate glossy wall with a big piece of tribal art on stone tile floor; as though it is an altar. From here, a small passage on the right to the ‘back room”.
When one enters the "back room", the room opens up to a more spacious and higher ceiling, vanilla cream color on the wall and ceiling, and at the end of the room, an African red color wall from floor to ceiling.
In this room, a sitting place with comfortable small scale leather sofa and bench for Bruce Frank to conduct his tribal art business.
Beaded Baby Carrier from Dayak, Borneo.
Early 20th Century.

for collectors and dealers
by appointment only.


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