Client: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Location: San Francisco, CA, United States
Completion date: 2016
David Bertman Designs
At once exhibition, educational center, and gathering place, the Photography Interpretive Gallery at SFMOMA offers visitors the opportunity to discover, learn, create, and reflect.
Reopening after a three-year renovation, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art wanted to do more than just display its unparalleled collection—it wanted to encourage visitors to think about photography in a whole new way. So we created the Photography Interpretive Gallery, a space for learning, reflection, and relaxation, where interactive tools help museumgoers better understand the art, its history, and its connection to their lives.
We had a goal of creating a single space that serves two distinct groups of museumgoers: those hungry for more insight and those looking to take a break. For SFMOMA’s grand reopening, we designed a new space that seamlessly blends cafe and art gallery, digital and physical.
Three interactive installations let visitors explore how we shape photographs and how photographs shape our perceptions of the world. In “The View from Here,” they use camera-inspired dials to explore the impact of photography on California’s history and mythology. The video-based “In Their Own Words” experience focuses on the wildly divergent creative processes of contemporary photographers. “Self Composed” challenges visitors to represent themselves using only the contents of their pockets—a playful take on the selfie.
The space has become, in one client’s words, “the clubhouse of the museum.”