AD interviews Renzo Piano about his new museum Academy of Motion Pictures


“I love building bridges,” says Piano, pointing to the two bridges that connect the Saban building and the Geffen theater to the mezzanine and the fifth level. These characteristics present a particularly light touch. The Barbra Streisand Bridge leads to one of the best views in town on the Dolby Family Terrace atop the Geffen and under the rounded glass roof. The suspended passages flooded with light and the dark theater spaces, both real and imaginary, reinforce what the architect identifies as a leitmotif. “Cinema is a question of light and shade,” says Piano. “This idea of ​​the sequence is part of the story.”

While the 1,000-seat Geffen Theater is lavishly inundated with red carpet-inspired crimson hues with custom-made seating by Poltrona Frau, the interiors of the Saban Building take a more streamlined approach. The structural elements on display help reinforce the curatorial mission of shedding light and providing a behind-the-scenes look at all aspects of a film’s making, as well as addressing problematic aspects of its history. However, the destination doesn’t forgo moments of Hollywood glamor. The rotunda room lined with statuettes of Oscar winners of former winners plunges spectators into an evocative and sumptuous setting in the Art Deco style. (Plus, the Oscars experience allows ticket holders to record their own Oscar-winning virtual stage moment.)

The shark used in the iconic film Jaws hangs from the ceiling of the new museum.

Photo: Joshua White

The Academy Museum is the first institution of its kind to organize a comprehensive program of exhibitions, public programs, screenings and publications to highlight the city’s iconic industry. “It is the mother of all art forms because it brings together architecture and scenography, costumes, music, cinematography, writing and almost all creative disciplines”, explains Kulapat Yantrasast of the company AD100 Why Architecture. From the main exhibition on several levels Cinema stories and the various temporary and rotating installations that include a major investigation into Hayao Miyazaki, “we didn’t want linear storytelling,” Yantrasast says. Instead, physical and multimedia presentations emphasize the collaborative nature of filmmaking while challenging conventional narratives. “We want different points of view,” he adds.

The museum’s version of a red carpet greets visitors.

Photo: Joshua White

As for the eye-catching addition to the Miracle Mile campus, Piano reviews the multiple nicknames that have evolved over the life of the project. There’s the aforementioned flying ship, as well as a zeppelin and an airship. These metaphors apply to the power of films to psychologically transport audiences. The concrete sphere “also has the fragility of a soap bubble”, but with a big difference. “It’s not going to explode. I promise you, ”Piano says. On that note, Piano has a specific request: don’t call him the Death Star.


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