Smithsonian American Art Museum announces finalists for Renwick Gallery Grand Salon design competition (2013)

Smithsonian American Art Museum Announces Finalists for Renwick Gallery Grand Salon Design Competition

Press release text by Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has selected five finalists for the Grand Salon design competition that is part of a forthcoming major renovation of the Renwick Gallery, home of the museum’s craft and decorative art program since 1972. The five firms are Applied Minds, Marlon Blackwell Architect, Studio Odile Decq, Vinci Hamp Architects and Westlake Reed Leskosky.

The international design competition invited selected interior designers, artists and architects to envision the 4,300-square-foot Grand Salon anew as a must-see destination for contemporary audiences. Each was asked to consider the relationship of a contemporary-designed interior within an historic one and create a spectacular destination space suitable for public programs, civic occasions and special events.


Applied Minds is an interdisciplinary company based in Glendale, Calif., that works at the crossroads of art, information, science, technology, design and society. Marlon Blackwell Architect is an architecture practice based in Fayetteville, Ark., that is internationally recognized for bold designs that draw upon vernaculars and the contradictions of place. Studio Odile Decq, a design firm based in Paris, is known for spatial and interactive experimentation in urban planning, architecture, design products and art. Vinci Hamp Architects, a Chicago-based design firm, is noted for its arts installations and historic preservation projects. Westlake Reed Leskosky, architects, engineers and technology designers based in Cleveland, is nationally recognized for thoughtful, innovative solutions and integrated design for cultural arts facilities, museums and historic restoration.

The five finalists will present refined concepts and cost estimates for the design concept build-out in June. Private funds will be raised to implement the proposed design once a final concept has been selected. The selected final design will be announced in summer.

No structural alterations will be allowed to the Grand Salon. If accepted, the new Grand Salon design will remain in place for a minimum period of five years.

A major renovation of the Renwick Gallery is in the design phase. The renovation, which will begin in 2014, will include a completely renewed infrastructure, enhanced historic features and other upgrades to the National Historic Landmark building. [...]