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The Renwick Gallery

Grand Salon Design Competition

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce a unique technology-enabled design concept to the museum environment that will provide both a new palette and performance opportunity for the creative genius of our artists and to inspire new generations of visitors." -- Bran Ferren, Applied Minds

design concepts

Applied Minds Renwick Designs Capitol and Redwoods, © 2013 APPLIED MINDS, LLC

In June 2013, the Smithsonian American Art Museum selected Applied Minds, an interdisciplinary company based in Los Angeles, as the winner of an international design competition to reimagine the Renwick Gallery's Grand Salon. The proposed new concept for the Grand Salon is part of a forthcoming major renovation of the Renwick Gallery's historic building.

The international design competition invited selected interior designers, artists, and architects to envision the 4,300-square-foot Grand Salon as a must-see twenty-first-century destination for contemporary audiences. Applied Minds presented a technology solution that uses state-of-the-art high-definition projectors and audio speakers to create an immersive and interactive environment. The concept proposes unlimited opportunities to transform the Grand Salon with different looks that could range from a woodland forest to an aerial tour of Washington, D.C., to a distinctive historic interior.

design concept

Applied Minds Renwick Design Masks, © 2013 APPLIED MINDS, LLC

The concept gives artists the opportunity to design new digital artworks to fill the space in creative and inspiring ways. The possibility of featuring digital artworks enhances the museum's emphasis on developing its media arts program by expanding its display to the Renwick Gallery.

"The genius of the Applied Minds concept is that it encourages visitors to come back again and again to see the many new and ever-changing presentations," said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "I especially like the fact that their concept offers a new palette for artistic interpretation that continues the Renwick Gallery's tradition of being 'Dedicated to Art,' as inscribed over the building's front door."

Applied Minds is working with the museum to further develop the design concept, explore required support systems and requirements, and develop a detailed cost estimate. The museum will decide whether to move forward to implement the design by March 2014, after the feasibility study concludes. Private funds will be raised to implement the proposed design.