Phillips has announced the selection of studioMDA, founded by Markus Dochantschi, to design its new headquarters at 432 Park Avenue in New York. Having worked extensively with renowned art collectors, artists and galleries to create innovative and provocative gallery and exhibition spaces, studioMDA plans to create a one-of-a-kind setting that promises to transform Phillips into a leading venue for experiencing art in New York.
“We chose this outstanding firm for several reasons,” said Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer of Phillips. “First and foremost, we selected studioMDA for its consistent design excellence. Markus has developed a strong reputation for the exceptional quality of his work designing some of the most elegant art galleries and exhibition spaces built in the last decade. In addition, his firm’s cultural experience means he not only understands our unique needs, but also the collaborative nature of our business. Phillips has experienced exponential growth in recent years, and the selection of studioMDA will ensure that our new home offers collectors an extraordinary new space to experience the very best of contemporary art, design, jewelry and watches.”
Phillips plans to move into Macklowe Properties’ 432 Park Avenue, one of the tallest residential towers in the Western Hemisphere, early next year. The auction house will assume more than 55,000 square feet of commercial space in the double-height, column-free underground concourse, as well as take over the Park Avenue Cube, a white-glass modernist structure of more than 5,000 square feet on the northwest corner of 56th Street and Park Avenue, and move its staff into office space across from the Four Seasons Hotel. The auction house plans to host sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry in its new home starting in the spring of 2020. Along with auctions and exhibitions, the space will feature a café, auditorium, and private sales galleries. The venue will also allow for the strategic integration of digital elements into the design of the galleries to suit the needs of a 21st-century auction house.
studioMDA plans to transform the auction house gallery experience by creating flexible space that prompts imaginative new uses while introducing elements of surprise and engagement. The design of the new space will acknowledge the changing nature of the auction process by adapting to how art is displayed, to the specificity of events, and to the curatorial needs of its various functions and platforms.
Mr. Dochantschi, who previously ran the office of Zaha Hadid Architects for seven years, said, “Having worked on numerous cultural spaces, I believe we can create a new kind of auction house with a more exciting relationship to the city to present Phillips’ ever-changing exhibitions. By establishing itself in the concourse level of 432 Park, Phillips has already given the project an initial element of surprise and adventure that we hope to refine through our architecture. We are interested in creating a variety of spatial modalities that can engage users in new and experimental ways, allowing Phillips to present a dynamic and immediately recognizable identity. By activating the public spaces through the Cube, the new space will become a hybrid of auction house, gallery, lecture forum and event space. And unlike any other auction house, the new Phillips headquarters will allow a direct visual connection from the street to the auction experience.”
Because of Phillips’ rapid expansion, studioMDA is designing a system of flexible “zones” that can be divided into separate rooms or opened into vast, column-free spaces for auction and exhibition activities. Mr. Dochantschi added, “Unlike a museum or a gallery, Phillips may have a different program every day. Each space within the newly developed concourse will be custom-tailored to the scale and nature of the collections on display, from automobiles to paintings to watches. By replacing the floor of the transparent glass-walled Park Avenue Cube with a sunken mezzanine, we will create sightlines to the auction floor of the subterranean concourse level. Intimate, sound-proof private galleries will allow potential buyers or sellers to preview and discuss selected works. The new Phillips space will have the fine qualities of a museum, and the flexibility of an art fair, plus a strong urban presence.”
studioMDA designed more than a dozen art galleries and has worked on a number of art fairs and exhibitions around the world. In New York, the firm designed the Kasmin Gallery, Anton Kern Gallery, and Nahmad Contemporary, among others. Currently, the studio is expanding its portfolio of cultural projects with the Faurschou Foundation in Brooklyn, the new Luhring Augustine Gallery in Tribeca, and a private art museum in Thailand.
Educated in Germany, Mr. Dochantschi has taught an Advanced Studio at Yale University with Zaha Hadid, Stefan Behnisch and Gerald Hines, and numerous Advanced Studios at Columbia University’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a guest critic at many of the world’s leading schools of architecture, while developing his New York and Frankfurt, Germany-based professional practice.
450 Park Avenue
New York, New York