MoMA Reopens with a Signature Sound by Cerami
New York, NY, October 21, 2019 – As the MoMA reopens today to the public after a $450 million renovation, there is sure to be even more noise about the additional 47,000-square-feet and the 1,000 additional pieces of art. What won’t be making noise are the droves of patrons sauntering through the museum, clanking up and down the steps, clamoring for the first look at “the new MoMA”. That’s because Cerami & Associates, the acoustic designers for MoMA, were brought in to build the architect’s acoustic vision and design the way art is heard.
“MoMA is the intersection of art, architecture and the technology of acoustical illusion.” said Victoria Cerami, Cerami & Associates CEO. “We designed the acoustics at MoMA, so the sound disappears, and the art and architecture can be fully realized.”
Upon entry, one is captured by the stunning Blade Stair, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the signature centerpiece connecting the old space to the new, cantilevered from a slender sheet of steel, and suspended like a mobile. A piece of artwork in itself, the stair creates a seamless acoustic connection from one gallery to the next carrying the visitors through the collections without interruption and praised by the Wall Street Journal architectural writer as “one of the most elegant acoustic measures I have ever seen.”
Aspirations for the space were achieved through a marriage of science and art. Cerami performed a series of detailed acoustical analysis to determine the optimum amount of acoustical absorption that would satisfy design objectives, landing on floor-to-ceiling wood-paneled walls, speckled with millions of barely detectable micro-perforations that absorb sound like a sponge – aligning the sound with the sleek beauty of the design.
At the heart of the new space is the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, the worlds’ first dedicated space for performance, process and time-based art. Challenged with how to design the Studio to be impervious to NYC’s bustling 53rd Street and ensure its adaptability for an expansive variety of uses, Cerami brought this design challenge into their Immersive Studio to the MoMA creative team experience the experience before it was built. Through virtual simulations and numerous iterations, Cerami’s solution was a floating gallery with tilting walls, adjustable banners that can alter the acoustics, and an isolated secondary curtain wall engineered so guests will never know they are in midtown Manhattan. This silence is part of the gallery experience, art you can’t touch, but you can sense; a blank canvas to be transformed with each installation.
Cerami is proud to have contributed to the sensory experience of the new MoMA. For over 50 years, Cerami has provided signature buildings with their signature voice.