Le Stanze del Vetro is a museum dedicated to 20th and 21st century glassmaking which was founded by Pentagram Stiftung and supported by Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Located on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, the museum is part of a campus of historic buildings which have been restored and repurposed for cultural and educational uses.
The 7,400 sf exhibition space is housed on the ground floor of a 19th century warehouse which was converted into a boarding school during the 1950s. Remnants of the school have been preserved including its rationalist interior defined by a long corridor with classrooms on either side. The design transforms existing classrooms into seven intimately scaled galleries for temporary exhibitions and connects them with a new enfilade passageway which functions as the museum’s new main circulation route. Along the original corridor, steel shelving serves as open storage for the museum’s permanent collection, while vitrines mounted inside the original classroom doorways create a visually permeable separation between the corridor and individual galleries.
Other functional requirements are incorporated into the design including a new accessible entrance, reception, book shop, media room, restrooms, and storage. In keeping with Venice’s tradition of craftsmanship, the firm worked closely with local artisans on the design of the museum’s custom Italian walnut and steel vitrines, steel shelving, and hand blown glass lighting.