A museum staircase design features two works of American art that are to be displayed in two separate areas. The design oscillates between points of tension and release. The points of tension are intended to build up anticipation as the patron approaches the art piece until finally they reach the actual display space where tension is abandoned. The two pieces themselves are very different in their natural mediums and required specific individual attention to curation. The Hepworth sculpture (Oval No.2) is very approachable from 360 degree's so that it can be viewed in the round. The John Singer Sargent painting (The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit) is a bit more removed from the viewer to play on the mysterious intrigue that Sargent captured relating to the themes of adolescence. The circulation is specifically controlled to create views between the two pieces that bounce back and forth. This warrants patrons to re-examine the art pieces from different vantage points to gain new artistic insight.
Hepworth Narrative: (the observer and the voyeur)
The first view of the sculpture down the stairs draws the viewer from the reception anti-chamber into the museum. The patron is required to navigate down a small staircase that funnels towards the piece in an intentional moment of compression. The staircase leads to the observation space where they are placed with the piece as equals, free to experience and observe the piece from 360 degree's while at close proximity. The patron then continues down the scissor staircase towards the Sargent painting. As they reach the bottom of the staircase, they are given the view of the piece from below through a glass floor.
Sargent Narrative: (the adolescent struggle)
The first glimpse of the Sargent painting comes as the viewer turns away from the Hepworth Sculpture and navigates down the stairs. The viewer is then brought close to the painting they are physically close but unable to fully view the painting, metaphorically symbolizing the frustration of adolescence. The journey begins and the viewer continues down the staircase with the painting behind their backs. As the viewer navigates around a wall, they are then at full view of the painting yet physically far away, symbolizing the loss of adolescence and the distant relationship adults have with childhood. As the viewer then tries to examine and get closer to the painting they may gain more insight to the details of the painting, but must still navigate down several more steps. While physically close to the painting, the sectional displacement further demonstrates the viewers removal from adolescence.